Compare all the drivers’ performances below and vote for who you think was the best driver of the United States Grand Prix weekend.
United States Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Sebastian Vettel – Led the way in practice but Hamilton kept Vettel honest in qualifying. He was unable to draw clear of the McLaren in the race but his poor straight-line speed left him vulnerable to catching a lapped car in the twisty section before the main straight. When Hamilton seized his chance Vettel defended as firmly as he could before giving best to the McLaren, and crossed the finishing line still right on his tail.
Mark Webber – Unhappy with the lack of grip offered by circuit and tyres, Webber was well off Vettel’s pace in practice and qualifying. He briefly ran second before Hamilton demoted him to third, and then suffered another of Red Bull’s alternator failures. Remarkably for a driver whose name was once synonymous with this sort of misfortune, this was his first mechanically-included retirement since Singapore 2009.
Jenson Button – It was Button’s turn to have the share of McLaren’s technical problems in America. A throttle pedal problem caused his elimination in Q2 and he lined up on the dirty side of the grid in 12th. His recovery drive to fifth included gritty passes on Schumacher and Raikkonen, but he was unable to use maximum KERS in the closing stages as he tried to gain on Massa.
Lewis Hamilton – Picked up where he left off when his car broke down in Abu Dhabi, splitting the Red Bulls to start on the front row of the grid with Vettel. He was predictably passed by Webber from the clean side of the grid at the start, but soon re-passed that Red Bull and went after the other one. His lap times dropped sharply at the end of the first stint but he came on strong in the second. When Karthikeyan presented the opportunity for him to pass Vettel he didn’t waste it, and was alert to Vettel’s firm-but-fair defending.
Fernando Alonso – A curious performance from Alonso who looked in good shape during practice then slumped to ninth in qualifying, beaten on merit by Massa for the first time since Korea last year. Grosjean’s gearbox penalty meant he would start eighth but Ferrari opted to sacrifice Massa to move Alonso further forward again and onto the clean side of the grid. That netted him fourth by turn one which became third when Webber retired.
Felipe Massa – Had it not been for Ferrari’s ‘Alonso first’ tactics it’s likely Massa would have had the beating of him here. He was quicker in qualifying and his race pace was better too. Ferrari made a better job of his pit stop than Alonso’s which briefly got him ahead of Raikkonen, and although the Lotus later passed Massa he was eventually able to claim the place back.
Michael Schumacher – Fifth on the grid was a promising starting place for his penultimate Grand Prix. But he struggled with his tyres from the moment the lights went out and dropped like a stone: by lap ten he was 13th. Pitted twice and finished 16th, behind his team mate who had started six rows behind him.
Nico Rosberg – Mercedes seemed to treat the weekend as an extended test session with Rosberg switching back to their pre-Coanda exhaust layout. He was last in Q2 and only moved up to 13th during the race as Mercedes extended their point-less streak to five races. “We have learned some important lessons for next year and that’s what counts at the moment,” he said.
Kimi Raikkonen – Both Lotuses started on the dirty side of the grid, Raikkonen inheriting Grosjean’s fourth place thanks to his team mate’s gearbox change penalty. Having lost three places at the start Raikkonen made a steady recovery in the opening stint, passing Schumacher and Hulkenberg. He closed on Alonso but a slow pit stop by his team cost him a chance to get past. He said a fall in ambient temperatures during the second half of the race caused a loss of pace on his hard tyres and after that he fell prey to Massa and Button, ending up sixth.
Romain Grosjean – Out-qualified Raikkonen and although he was demoted by a gearbox change penalty he was back in front by lap two, opportunistically passing his team mate and Schumacher. But he spun while chasing Hulkenberg and dropped to 13th before making an early pit stop. A strong stint on hard tyres allowed him to recover seventh place.
Paul di Resta – Di Resta was curiously reluctant to share his debriefs over the intra-team radio but it didn’t help him stop Hulkenberg from out-qualifying him for the fifth race in a row. He made it up to fifth before a spin forced him to make an extra pit stop and killed any hope of a points finish.
Nico Hulkenberg – Hulkenberg was ‘relegated’ from seventh and the clean side of the grid to sixth and the dirty side by Massa’s team-inflicted penalty. He held his position at the start before passing Schumacher, but he couldn’t keep the Lotuses behind and was passed by both of them, finishing eighth.
Kamui Kobayashi – The combination of the tyre-kind Sauber and the gripless surface proved a challenge Kobayashi could not overcome. “For the entire weekend here I had warm up problems and didn’t get the tyres to work,” he said after finishing 14th. “We have to find out why this was.”
Sergio Perez – A huge Mexican contingent was present to cheer Perez on, though for the fifth time this year he finished one place outside of the points. He reckoned a top ten finish would have been possible had his brake pedal not gone long: “I had big difficulties before every corner,” he said.
Daniel Ricciardo – Ricciardo passed car after car at the start, taking the likes of Kobayashi, Rosberg, Vergne, Maldonado and Schumacher. He said if he had expected the hard tyre to work as well as it did he would have changed to it sooner. Having held fifth for three laps, racing with the likes of Raikkonen and Massa, his pit stop dropped him back to 12th, out of the points.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Made it into Q2 at the expense of his team mate. A lunge up the inside of turn one at the start didn’t pay off – he lost two places on the first lap – and a suspension problem ended his race early on.
Pastor Maldonado – The Williams pair shared row five but surprisingly Maldonado ended lap one behind his team mate, who had started on the unfavourable side. After losing a lengthy tussle with Button he was also passed by Ricciardo, but a well-timed pit stop pulled him back into contention and a muscular pass on his team mate put him back where he started at the chequered flag.
Bruno Senna – Started tenth and finished there after being passed by his team mate with five laps to go. “Unfortunately we came out of the pits behind Hulkenberg which was frustrating as he was just quick enough exiting turn 11 each lap and we couldn’t overtake him which damaged my tyres allowing Pastor to catch us both,” he said. “I knew Pastor would make a move and I wasn’t going to close the door as we needed the points for the team.”
Heikki Kovalainen – Battled with Pic at the start but he eventually overcame both KERS-less Marussias. The stewards examined his pass on Glock but decided the move was fair. “I’ve had issues all weekend with getting heat into the front tyres and it was the same again today for the first few laps,” said Kovalainen.
Vitaly Petrov – Got ahead of both Marussias at the start which was vital as they had decent pace – Glock eventually finished just eight seconds behind him.
Pedro de la Rosa – It was the usual story for HRT, albeit it with slightly less running than usual in practice. These were euphemistically referred to as “short programs” but the reappearance of Ma Qing Hua in Karthikeyan’s car indicates that the up-for-sale team is seriously strapped for cash. De la Rosa brought the car home, albeit almost a full minute behind the next runner.
Narain Karthikeyan – Having missed first practice and had little running the second, Karthikeyan looked like he mist be at risk of not qualifying. He made it onto the grid, though much to Vettel’s chagrin after a delay behind the HRT on lap 42 cost him the lead. But Karthikeyan’s driving was within the rules.
Timo Glock – Marussia were very pleased to have both cars in front of the Caterhams in qualifying, led by Glock. But Petrov was soon past them at the start: “The first lap was a bit all over the place; I lost the car twice,” said Glock. Kovalainen later passed him too and the team’s attempt to re-pass him via the pits was thwarted when Kovalainen came in on the same lap.
Charles Pic – Picked up front wing damage on the first lap and slipped out of contention in the team’s battle with Caterham.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Started||Gap to team mate||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate|
|Michael Schumacher||5th||-1.399s||14/55||2||16th||Not on same lap|
|Nico Rosberg||17th||+1.399s||41/55||1||13th||Not on same lap|
|Paul di Resta||13th||+0.599s||4/55||2||15th||Not on same lap|
|Nico Hulkenberg||6th||-0.599s||51/55||1||8th||Not on same lap|
|Kamui Kobayashi||16th||+0.231s||0/55||1||14th||Not on same lap|
|Sergio Perez||15th||-0.231s||55/55||1||11th||Not on same lap|
|Pedro de la Rosa||23rd||-0.729s||53/54||1||21st||-11.879s|
|Timo Glock||19th||-0.608s||49/54||1||19th||Not on same lap|
|Charles Pic||20th||+0.608s||5/54||1||20th||Not on same lap|
Review the race data
- 2012 United States Grand Prix fastest laps
- 2012 United States Grand Prix lap charts
- 2012 United States GP tyre strategies and pit stops
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 United States 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 (0%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
- Sergio Perez (0%)
- Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
- Paul di Resta (0%)
- Romain Grosjean (0%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (0%)
- Nico Rosberg (0%)
- Michael Schumacher (1%)
- Felipe Massa (20%)
- Fernando Alonso (4%)
- Jenson Button (3%)
- Lewis Hamilton (63%)
- Mark Webber (0%)
- Sebastian Vettel (6%)
Total Voters: 704
2012 United States Grand Prix
Image © COTA/LAT, COTA/LAT, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Caterham/LAT