Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2012

Raikkonen voted top Abu Dhabi driver in close poll

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2012In a close poll, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen was chosen the top driver of the weekend.

Sebastian Vettel was the runner-up in the poll after fighting his way from the back of the field to stand on the podium. Third spot in the poll went to Lewis Hamilton, who looked on course for victory until his car failed.

Driver of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Weekend poll ?ǣ top three

1. Kimi Raikkonen ?ǣ 37.1%
2. Sebastian Vettel ?ǣ 27.3%
3. Lewis Hamilton ?ǣ 20.6%

Kimi Raikkonen

Started: 4th
Finished: 1st

Took fourth place in qualifying – his second-best Saturday result this season. He had a perfect start overtaking Pastor Maldonado and Mark Webber to take second place, which later translated into lead when Hamilton retired.

He managed to keep sufficient advantage over Fernando Alonso in the DRS zone in last laps and won for the first time since his return to Formula One.

Hamilton was pretty much flawless, claiming pole position, retaining his lead at the start ?ǣ even after making a small mistake ?ǣ 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 Raikkonen 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!

There were plenty of drivers who applied for this title, Vettel for coming from back of the field to the podium, Hamilton because he had the race perfectly and easily 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 truly has an unique character.
Pedro Costa

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012Started: 24th
Finished: 3rd

Vettel was quick in practice but missed the third session because of brake problems and had speed for only third place in qualifying. That changed into a pit-lane start when the stewards concluded there was not enough fuel left in his car. The team made use of the rules allowing him to change his set-up before the race.

He damaged his front wing right at the beginning after a contact with Bruno Senna and again later when trying to avoid Daniel Ricciardo behind the safety car. This forced him to make an early pit stop and later switch to a two-stop strategy.

Vettel made crucial passes on many drivers including di Resta, Senna, Schumacher and Grosjean (at first he overtook the Lotus driver off the track and had to give the position back). He used the second safety car period to close the gap to Jenson Button in third and overtook the British driver five laps from the end to get to the podium for the fifth race in a row.

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 and got to third.

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 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 third and then put in an amazing drive to take back that third 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.

Vettel is definitely driver of the weekend, due to the following factors: Red Bull had one of its messiest weekend in recent memory; After missing third practice, he still manages to get third on the grid, just 0.05 off Webber; After being disqualified from qualifying, he started his race with a completely different car set-up, yet he still managed to be very quick from the 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 it’s complete rubbish, the second safety car only helped him gain one position.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2012Started: 1st
Finished: DNF

Secured his sixth pole position of the season and had a clean start to retain the lead. Despite making a mistake on the second lap he built a gap over second-placed Raikkonen and seemed to be cruising for his fourth win of the season only to retire on lap 20 because of fuel pressure problems.

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 safety car. He was favourite to win and was very unlucky to have a failure, but although Raikkonen took advantage of the other drivers? problems Hamilton was perfect all weekend.

Has to be Hamilton for me. I?m not a big fan of him to be honest, 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.
Dean McKinnon

2012 Driver of the Weekend results so far

Round First Second Third
Australia Jenson Button (43.6%) Fernando Alonso (21.1%) Sergio Perez (8.2%)
Malaysia Sergio Perez (61.4%) Fernando Alonso (28.1%) Bruno Senna (3.7%)
China Nico Rosberg (69.1%) Lewis Hamilton (10.0%) Jenson Button (6.4%)
Bahrain Kimi Raikkonen (56.3%) Sebastian Vettel (19.3%) Paul di Resta (10.6%)
Spain Pastor Maldonado (56.8%) Lewis Hamilton (27.5%) Fernando Alonso (6.4%)
Monaco Mark Webber (32.6%) Heikki Kovalainen (20.2%) Fernando Alonso (14.2%)
Canada Lewis Hamilton (58.7%) Sergio Perez (19.1%) Romain Grosjean (15.3%)
Europe Fernando Alonso (51.7%) Sebastian Vettel (18.4%) Michael Schumacher (8.9%)
Great Britain Mark Webber (50.1%) Fernando Alonso (18.7%) Romain Grosjean (17.3%)
Germany Fernando Alonso (62.4%) Jenson Button (12.5%) Kamui Kobayashi (8.7%)
Hungary Lewis Hamilton (55.2%) Kimi Raikkonen (30.1%) Bruno Senna (5.5%)
Belgium Jenson Button (52.7%) Sebastian Vettel (20.5%) Nico Hulkenberg (8.9%)
Italy Sergio Perez (50.6%) Lewis Hamilton (30.0%) Fernando Alonso (10.9%)
Singapore Lewis Hamilton (26.2%) Paul di Resta (25.6%) Sebastian Vettel (18.6%)
Japan Kamui Kobayashi (39.2%) Sebastian Vettel (33.1%) Felipe Massa (16.8%)
Korea Sebastian Vettel (33.5%) Felipe Massa (20.3%) Nico Hulkenberg (16.6%)
India Fernando Alonso (58.6%) Sebastian Vettel (28.6%) Bruno Senna (4.1%)
Abu Dhabi Kimi Raikkonen (37.1%) Sebastian Vettel (27.3%) Lewis Hamilton (20.6%)

Hamilton appeared in the top three despite not finishing the race – this previously happened in Singapore where he also led until retiring. Vettel appeared among the top three drivers of the weekend for the fifth race in a row.

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei

39 comments on “Raikkonen voted top Abu Dhabi driver in close poll”

  1. Great drives from all three of them but you’ve got to wonder if Vettel was in Raikkonen’s situation, he wouldn’t be in with a chance and the comments would have read something like.

    “Won from the front again, the only reason he won was because Hamilton retired.”

    “He had a chance to overtake Hamilton for the lead but failed. The guy can’t overtake ”

    “Overtaking at the start doesn’t count.”

    “Very lucky. Hamilton retired, Webber had a poor start and Maldonado didn’t have KERS.”


    Not saying Vettel deserved to win it. Hamilton did though, shame about his retirement.

    1. Vettel NEVER won from lower than 3th start position. So don’t imagine Vettel being Raikkonen. Ever.

      1. Vettel NEVER won from lower than 3th start position.

        So what?

        1. Nothing, but don’t be impresed if someone is voted DOTW, instead of Vettel (even if he will be last to third).

          1. A driver who NEVER won from lower than 4th start position got 3 DOTW’s this year.

          2. from lower than 4th


          3. Who?

            Lewis Hamilton.

          4. @sorin – I vote for who I thought was the best driver that weekend: for example in China I voted Nico Rosberg for his dominant display in both qualifying and the race. In Spain I voted Pastor Maldonado because of his immense maturity and ability to control the pressure applied to him by Fernando Alonso.

            In cases like this though there are always going to be differing opinions: personally I was split between Hamilton and Vettel; Vettel swung it for me because of his immense recovery drive. Some may have thought Räikkönen was the best driver but personally I beg to differ. There is a reason after all why nobody has yet won a poll by more than 70%.

        2. @david-a | So what?

          Well, it says a lot about his talent (or lack there of) and his long way to go to be able to reach the levels of F.Alonso, A.Senna, M.Schumacher, A.Prost, G.Hill, Brabham & co.

          P.S. Still, glad Raikkonen won this poll, and not Vettel. Had L.Hamilton not retired he would have won the driver of the weekend easily.

          1. @commendatore

            Well, it says a lot about his talent (or lack there of) and his long way to go to be able to reach the levels of F.Alonso, A.Senna, M.Schumacher, A.Prost, G.Hill, Brabham & co.

            Ironically Senna never won a race from lower than 5th on the grid. Huge difference, and proof that stats like the one sorin pointed out mean nothing.

            And maybe the fact that he rarely qualifies poorly and is on pole so often (i.e. more often than anyone except Senna ansd Schumacher) says a lot about his talent also?

      2. @sorin
        Do we vote for the best driver of a particular weekend, or who we think is the best driver in general?
        Not voting for Vettel because of one stat, that is completely irrelevant to his performance in Abu Dhabi, seems pretty odd to me.

        1. Yes, you’re right, regarding not voting for someone, because of one stat. I voted for Raikkonen(because I’m a big fan) and searched stats against Vettel(because I don’t like him). I’m very subjectief, but who isn’t?? If you look at the pole you see Raikkonen 1’st , Vettel 2’nd and Hamilton…… 3’rd?? This can’t be right because if you do a objectief analisys defintly, Hamilton should be driver of the WEEKEND(the numbers show this). But, it isn’t, and this poles aren’t what they should be. And don’t blame me on that because i’m a one vote.

      3. Hamilton hasn’t won from any lower down than 4th ir 5th I think…

  2. I don’t understand how you guys vote a driver for the Driver of the weekend.
    It says in the topic “driver of the WEEKEND”, that means the whole weekend.
    And in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton was the driver of the weekend. He topped the time charts and had the race win in his pocket until the car failed on him.

    So please, think before you vote. I understand that you are in a hyped state after a Grand Prix, but vote correctly..

    1. You haven’t noticed how many ‘topping every chart’ weekends Vettel was not chosen? Hell, even a grand-slam is not enough to satisfy some people.

    2. @dam00r On any given race weekend, some three-quarters of the drivers may not even have a car that’s capable of being quickest in a given session. Your reasoning automatically excludes all of them.

      There is no “correct” way to vote in a poll like this. It’s subjective by definition. By all means explain why you think your choice was the correct one. But don’t expect to win many converts by patronising people and chiding them for not voting “correctly”.

      1. brilliant reply Keith. All these fastest driver bla bla bla they forgot at the same time they had the fastest car throughout the weekend. Hell, Kimi shouldn’t be winning considering a redbull was in front of him,,,,,,,if alonso claim he extracted 200%, kimi perhaps more so.

      2. +1
        This poll is more an indicator of the respect people have gained for a driver over the weekend.

        Looking at previous winners of this pole I’d agree, mostly.

    3. It’s about reading other people comments and emotions. Right or wrong is only fun when it’s uncertain, otherwise working on a nail factory is more fun :D

    4. I agree wholehartedly. Ok, Raikkonen was very good this time, perhaps better than in any other race this season, even better than Bahrain and Hungary. Ok, Vettel recovered 21 positions, but what downside can you find with Hamilton’s entire weekend. None, absolutely none. He was the fastest every day, and bad luck prevented him from winning. And, unfairly, also cost him this DotW win.

    5. @dam00r

      You’re right, it is driver of the weekend, but I tend to give about a 90% weighting to what happens in the race, 10% to what happens in qualifying, and 0% to each of the three free practice sessions, as they are basically irrelevant. And I don’t just look at a driver’s finishing position or grid position; far more important is how they fared against their expected performance. Even if Vettel was fastest in every single session, took pole position, set the fastest lap and won the race by leading every lap, I would vote for Narain Karthikeyan if he managed to come second. Wouldn’t you?

  3. Kimi drove a perfect race and most important…he knew what he was doing!!!

    1. And he didn’t crashed with the DRS sign during safety car…

  4. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
    15th November 2012, 13:08

    Cettel made crucial passes – who is that?))

    1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
      15th November 2012, 13:14

      It’s extremely difficult to chose only one Driver of the Weekend because we may see several drivers which showed good, let’s say, behaviour on the circuit. As to me, Kimi, Koba, Alo equally drove very good race in Abu Dhabi.

      1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
        15th November 2012, 13:15

        who showed – correction

  5. by the way, anyone who most deserve to inherit a win from mclaren is probably Kimi alone…given how mclaren screw up numerous number of his wins during his mclaren time along with 2 driver titles.

    And it wasnt only about inherit the win, kimi ‘s lead was wipe off with two safety cars, and had to build up a gap instantly while alonso struggling to heat up his tyre….without those crucial opening laps after restart, alonso will win it easily. Kimi did a perfect job in masterful fashion.

  6. Vettel finished the DOFW poll in second and very nearly won it – despite being out-qualified by his teammate, being saved on two occasions by the SC, and running into a much slower car twice in the race; on this page Vettel fans are still complaining about him not receiving the credit he supposedly deserves. Delusional.

    1. @kinshark – out-qualified by his teammate after he missed out on almost all of Saturday running (which obviously comprimised his qualifying effort) which was made redundant anyway when his car stopped on track. The safety car affected everyone, not to mention drivers such as Di Resta who also benefited form the safety car; you can hardly cite that as an example of affecting his driving. He had one collision with another car (in the very early stages of the race with Bruno Senna) and one with a DRS board – which if I’m not mistaken isn’t a car.

      Also, you seem to have eluded to the fact he performed probably the most overtakes of any diver this season (the vast majority of which were clean), set the fastest lap, fought his way from pit-lane to podium, made essentially two recovery drives and was much much faster than his teammate in the race (and overtook more cleanly in general).

      I could argue that you were the delusional one for not recognising that it was at the very least a good drive.

  7. I personally think Hamilton merited DOTW more than Räikkönen. Räikkönen was advantageous at the start to gain places after a qualifying result which wasn’t spectacular but wasn’t bad either. He did control the race beautifully after Hamilton’s untimely retirement (and he definetly let his race engineer know that he was capable of doing so by himself!) holding off a very fast Alonso in a very fast Ferrari (which bearing in mind was only about a tenth of Vettel’s Red Bull).

    Hamilton however scored pole position by a clear margin; he dominated qualifying while his teammate was left to pick up the scraps behind both Red Bull’s. He looked set to do a Vettel-esque drive off into the sunset but was robbed of an almost certain victory by a yet again malfunctioning McLaren.

    Vettel drove brilliantly (barring the safety car incident and his rather clumsy attempt at overtaking Bruno Senna – I’ll let him away with them though since he must be a bit rusty with his overtaking having just led 200+ laps!) and made about 20 overtakes (which if I’m right in saying is the most by a single driver this year?) on his way to the podium after what must have been a hugely frustrating Saturday. I was thoroughly I pressed with Vettel’s recovery drive and possibly with a few more laps he could have won the race (from the pit-lane!).

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th November 2012, 21:40

    @Max Jacobson – it goes to show everyone how important it is to win. Winning under the best circumstances is better than coming 2nd under the worst circumstances. That being said – Raikonnen did drive under a lot of pressure.

    1. @freelittlebirds – I value a win highly as obviously that is the position which wins the trophy but I personally feel there is more to a race weekend than who comes first. One of the reasons I voted for Vettel is because of the wealth of overtakes he made despite barely ever having to overtake. I also agree with you that Räikkönen was definety under pressure and he handled it brilliantly – he thoroughly deserved the win given the retirement.

      1. Objectively I was close between Vettel and Kimi but I value Kimi a lot more so it had to be him. There are more reasons than just the trophy though. He already knew he would have a good start and his start was really impressive. He perfectly controlled not one but two safety car restarts as well as the pressure from Alonso and made sure not to let him into the DRS zone despite the 0.2 sec. lack of pace in the end.

        Vette’s drive was fantastic and though I loved the overtaking he also make a clear mistake behind the safety car and tried to pass some blame over the radio. That deducts a bit from the total in my view.

        Sure, Lewis was dominant – for as long as it lasted – but it didn’t last long enough for me to see him as DOTW. We don’t know if his tires would have lasted, if he would have made more mistakes under pressure from Kimi. After all, keep in mind that he almost lost the lead early on due to his own mistake so there’s just no way I could vote for him this time.

  9. Vettel appeared among the top three drivers of the weekend for the fifth race in a row.
    Alonso only one in the last five races.

  10. All 3 are deserving of the DOTW. It’s all too easy to be cynical when a guy starts from pole or another guy inherits the lead but both Raikkonen and Hamilton were tested by the Safety Car and came out the other side still displaying their dominance. Vettel capitalised when he needed to and raced hard but fair (unless you’re a DRS board!).

  11. The poll on has it all wrong – here Vettel wins it clearly. The voters there have clearly not seen the light as we have here at F1fanatic!
    We would also vote Joe Hart “Player of the Match” the other day. Zlatan is just an overrated, lucky, arrogant and too self-confident spoiled brat. You could almost mistake him for an F1 driver:-)

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