Vote for your 2013 Australian Grand Prix driver of the weekend

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Start, Melbourne, 2013Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.

Australian Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel – Topped both Friday practice sessions, delayed by glitch on Saturday but stormed to pole position. Couldn’t get same tyre life over a stint as Lotus and Ferrari and was jumped by Raikkonen and Alonso – the latter was potentially avoidable.

Mark Webber – Had a chance to beat Vettel to pole but lost it with an error in the penultimate corner. A problem with his ECU left him without KERS for the first 20 laps including the start, where he slipped to seventh. Finished sixth after passing Di Resta.


Fernando Alonso – Out-qualified by Massa for the third race in a row, but by a mere 0.003s. Made a great start and picked off Hamilton at turn three, then had a go at his team mate as well. A savvy early second pit stop allowed him to jump Vettel and get a run on Sutil on the track. Closed on Raikkonen in the final stint but the Lotus was just too quick.

Felipe Massa – According to race engineer Rob Smedley Massa thought a few points was the best he’d get from this weekend on a track he doesn’t like. But he was on Alonso’s pace from the off and ended up fourth. Had he emulated his team mate’s strategy gamble a podium was possible.


Jenson Button – McLaren find themselves in the situation Ferrari were in 12 months ago. Button drove with verve in the wet parts of qualifying, ending Q2 fourth, but when the track dried in the top ten shootout the car’s inferiority showed. Moved up to ninth at the start and clung on to it until the end with three cars on his tail at the chequered flag.

Sergio Perez – Went out in Q2 after gambling on super-soft tyres, then suffered a puncture which forced him to put on another set, losing precious time. Started 15th on the medium tyres but the kind of alternative strategy that served him so well last year wasn’t enough to drag the car into the points.


Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013Kimi Raikkonen – Disappointed to only qualify seventh but made up two places at the start, then overtook Hamilton around the outside of turn 13. Ran a long second stint on medium tyres to make a two-stop strategy work, which elevated him into the lead once the three-stoppers had come in. A late burst of pace secured his second win in four races.

Romain Grosjean – Qualified alongside his team mate but although he stayed out of trouble at the start he lost three places. Never seemed to have his team mate’s pace and was convinced there was something wrong with his car.


Nico Rosberg – Showed great potential in the wet parts of qualifying but slipped back to sixth when the track dried out. Kept Hamilton in sight during the race before retiring with an electrical problem.

Lewis Hamilton – Had a lucky escape in the sodden Q1 when he spun and glanced a barrier, but bounced back to qualify ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bulls. Fell behind the Ferraris and Raikkonen at the start but was clearly aiming to get through the race on just two stops, putting up with the super-softs until lap 12. However a lock-up while battling Alonso ruined that plan and left him fifth.


Nico Hulkenberg – Didn’t make it into Q3 and didn’t make it into the race either due to a fault with his fuel system.

Esteban Gutierrez – Crashed in the rain-hit Q1 and lined up 18th on the grid. Was one of few drivers to use a two-stopper and got to the finish on his debut, albeit well out of the points.

Force India

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Melbourne, 2013Paul di Resta – Beat Sutil by over a second in Q2 to claim a place in the final ten. Force India were the only team to run two-stoppers for both drivers and Di Resta had to start his race on super-softs after qualifying on them. He was reeling in his team mate at the end of the race until he was told to back off and finish behind him.

Adrian Sutil – One of four drivers to start on medium tyres, he took the lead of the race on lap 14 after those in front had pitted. He led again at the end of his second stint before being caught and passed by Raikkonen and Alonso. His final stint on super-softs was a disaster, however, and he slumped to seventh place.


Pastor Maldonado – Very unhappy with a car he’d been enthusiastic about in pre-season testing. Having failed to make it through Q1 he dropped behind Gutierrez and Bianchi on lap two. He began a recovery, passing the Marussia and getting on the tail of his team mate before spinning out.

Valtteri Bottas – Kept his chin up on a tough weekend for the team, claiming a place in Q2, passing three cars at the start and bringing the car home. By his own admission it wasn’t an error-free race, which cost him some places. An instruction to let his team mate pass at one point appeared to go unheeded.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne – Showed the STR8’s potential with the second-fastest lap of the race but a late error cost him a place to Perez when he was fighting to get into the points.

Daniel Ricciardo – Said “it felt like I was driving on ice” as he struggled to get heat into the medium tyres early on. Switched to super-softs on lap 30 but didn’t last much longer as an exhaust fault forced him out.


Charles Pic – Hampered by a KERS failure during the race, he nonetheless finished in front of one of the Marussias.

Giedo van der Garde – A puncture forced an early second pit stop on lap 16 and left him out of sync with his rivals. Pressured Chilton in his final stint before his tyres dropped off.


Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Melbourne, 2013Jules Bianchi – Looked quick in practice and qualifying, easily ahead of the Caterhams and threatening to exploit any slip-up by the midfield runners. Climbed as high as 12th in the early stages and beat Pic by 20 seconds.

Max Chilton – Brought the car home on his debut but was almost a minute behind his team mate.

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 2013 Australian Grand Prix weekend?

  • Max Chilton (0%)
  • Jules Bianchi (14%)
  • Giedo van der Garde (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (18%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (3%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (51%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Felipe Massa (5%)
  • Fernando Alonso (6%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (1%)

Total Voters: 830

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2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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

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144 comments on “Vote for your 2013 Australian Grand Prix driver of the weekend”

  1. I’m going to go on a tangent and say Bianchi, Marussia somehow definitely have a great driver on their hands there.

      1. Bianchi is the new Schumacher of Jordan 1991.
        He could be snaped mid season and as much as I love baby Massa, I just hope it is Ferrari who takes Bianchi not RedBull.

        1. the next Alain Prost?

    1. I chose Bianchi as well but I also thought of Alonso, despite the bad qualifying performance he did a great start and drove like a maniac. Sutil looked good but if you analyse the data between the 2 FI and add qualifying, Sutil wasn’t that impressive performance wise. The race winner must always be the drive of the weekend but I prefer to pick the 2nd best highlight of the weekend.

      1. Yeah I picked Bianchi too. His pace was brilliant. It was a stand out drive. Well done to him. Marussia are getting closer to the midfield. If Bianchi can keep up the pace..they may get their elusive first point this season

        1. Biachi’s fastest lap was half a second quiker than Paul di Resta and almost three tenths quicker than Sutil…
          Honestly this is one of the best debuts I can remember…
          I wonder what Force India Management is thinking right now…

          1. Yes, but he did that lap seven laps before the end with brand new super-soft tyres… Yet he was impressive but not because of that lap…

      2. @peartree

        The race winner must always be the drive of the weekend

        I disagree here. If a driver starts from pole and wins from pole position, i wouldnt call it a spectacular drive compared to a driver who starts from, say, 15th and ends up 5th.

        1. @1abe – I absolutely agree that the race winner isn’t necessarily the best, bit I do feel often a driver like Vettel if he wins dominantly is overlooked if someone puts in a good performance from lower down the grid – like in Valencia where he was so dominant that nobody could touch him until his car failed him.

          1. Vettel if he wins dominantly is overlooked if someone puts in a good performance from lower down the grid – like in Valencia where he was so dominant that nobody could touch him until his car failed him.

            It is true that Vettel was untouchable until the alternator failure but that domination was also due to the engine mapping “trick” that was banned in germany plus the performance of Alonso in that race was absolutely stunning in a circuit where overtaking is difficult he made a grate comeback with breathless overtaking maneuvers on Shumacher,Webber,Hulkenberg,Senna,Grosjean
            Even if he finished 2nd he will still be driver of the weekend

        2. @1abe – But you could then argue that the 15th place driver could have qualified better, with qualifying being part of the weekend.

      3. @peartree

        The race winner must always be the drive of the weekend but I prefer to pick the 2nd best highlight of the weekend.

        What a baffling contradiction.

        1. @keithcollantine I can explain better my vote goes for the driver that impressed me the most rather than the actual driver of the weekend, in the end who gets the 25 points.

  2. Adrian Sutil. His performance dramatically increased the race’s excitement yesterday.

    1. Considering the weekend as a whole, yes. Sutil was racing for the first time in an year and showed he had the pace to battle with Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus. His strategy was going to get him off the podium anyways because he started further behind than his rivals, but he lost more time than he should have because the super-softs degraded quickly.
      Alonso was the man of the race in my opinion as he was perfect, as was Kimi, although Fernando was 5 seconds behind him having pitted one extra time. I think Alonso was more on the edge whilst Raikkonen was more easy on his tyres; both were excellent drives and the top two spots were deserved, but Alonso’s qualifying wasn’t perfect and neither was Raikkonen’s.

      1. Alonso finished 12 seconds behind Kimi, not 5. And Kimi didn’t push because… He didn’t need to!

        In my opinion, Kimi was flawless (locked his front tyres at turn 3 on the first lap but that was it) whereas Alonso made a right meal of overtaking the Caterham near the end at the second last corner.

    2. Nice comment. There has been so much Sutil bashing over the past three years and it’s been sad to see(even before the nightclub incident). I hope he keeps driving well because most traditional f1 fans appear to strongly dislike him just for the sake of it.

    3. @magon4 I voted for Sutil too. Partly because nobody really wanted Force India to choose him over Bianchi, but he proved everybody wrong. He made di Resta look like a rookie for every moment of the weekend other than the final stint of the race when he was on the supersofts, but nobody expected him to be leading the race and pulling away from Vettel and co. on worn tyres. Bianchi a very close second for driver of the weekend, though!

      1. “He made di Resta look like a rookie for every moment of the weekend”.
        Hmm… lets look… Q1 = di Resta 1.7 seconds quicker, Q2 = di Resta 1.2 seconds quicker… and full race distance = di Resta probs 4 seconds quicker, but given team orders to hold position.

        You’re right Sutil drove a brilliant race but your comment about di Resta is hopelessly incorrect. If anything di Resta was the faster of the two.

        1. You’re right Sutil drove a brilliant race but your comment about di Resta is hopelessly incorrect.

          @mhop I respect your opinion, however in hindsight, I should rephrase. Since di Resta had the lion’s share of testing miles in the car, I just expected him to make at least a little bit of an impact on the race, like Sutil did. And di Resta was only four seconds quicker than Sutil at the end of the race when the German’s tyres cried enough,
          Qualifying was a lottery with the swimming pool-like Q1 and the greasy track in Q2, so I don’t think the difference between di Resta’s and Sutil’s times were representative of their true pace.
          Considering this was Sutil’s first race since November 2011 and having had only two days in the car pre-Melbourne, I certainly didn’t expect Sutil to be leading the amount of laps he did in the race!

  3. vuelve kowalsky
    18th March 2013, 10:54

    it’s got to be sutil.

    1. Yep.. Sutil for me as well
      He looked really pumped to be back in f1 and knew that this was his last season to make a good impression.

      Sutil was fast, stayed out of trouble and raced with the like of Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton like he had been doing it for a while. Unfortunately he couldn’t make the super softs work for him, or else it looked like his 1st ever career podium.

      Kimi and Fernando were pretty good too.. but Sutil was definitely the star of raceday

    2. Yes, I voted also for Sutil. The way he held Vettel when he was charging him hard was something outstanding. I would vote also for Raikkonen for his victory. I’ll choose Bianchi when he’ll get his hands onto a midfielder, this time he was only practicing. ;-)

  4. I went for Kimi. He drove a perfect race and his win hints at an interesting championship to come, rather than a repeat of 2011, when the fast-qualifying Red Bulls were also uncatchable in the race.

    1. Agreed.

    2. Kimi first, with Adrian a close second. Classy races by both, but Kimi was near perfect in the race.

    3. I went for Kimi too, although I felt Bianchi and Still did really well too. I don’t base it always on the race winner, rather on what they accomplished overall, driving, strategy, etc. It will be interesting to see how all of this will shake out in the next few races, and to look for consistency and improvement.

  5. Sutil. 15 months out, little testing in this years car yet puts in a stellar performance and outclasses his team mate.

    1. He finished less than 3.5 seconds ahead of his teammate. Hardly “outclassing” – the way people talk, it’s as if Sutil lapped di Resta.

      Sutil’s performance in the first part of the race, while eye-catching, was largely attributable to the fact that he hadn’t yet put on the super-soft tyres. Once he did so, thus levelling the playing field, he dropped back. Force India have a good car – probably fifth fastest at the moment after Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes – so taking the race as a whole, Sutil probably performed as expected.

      1. Exactly, I can’t give a driver of the weekend vote to someone who was out qualified by his team mate and only beat him in the race because his team mate was ordered not to pass him. For me it’s Raikkonen, followed by Bianchi, followed by Hamilton.

        1. @jleigh

          only beat him in the race because his team mate was ordered not to pass him

          Although Di Resta was ordered not to overtake him and I wasn’t impressed with Force India for giving that order, I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion Di Resta would have passed Sutil.

          Di Resta’s lap times kept improving until he caught Sutil on the penultimate lap. By that time his pace advantage per lap had fallen to around seven tenths of a second as Sutil’s graining had cleared up.

          So even with DRS assistance I don’t think we can say for sure Di Resta definitely would have passed.

          However it is interesting that their two races which were very similar in terms of pace are being viewed so differently.

          1. @keithcollantine you may be right, but the fact the order had to be made means Sutil can’t really be considered for DOTW

        2. @jleigh I agree with @KeithCollantine. Sutil’s pace improved by almost one second a lap in the penultimate lap.

          As for team orders, I never like them and this case wasn’t an exception. However, I have more understanding for Force India’s or Williams’ team orders than I have when Ferrari and Red Bull do the same thing. FI fight for survival and the points that they desperately try to secure can turn out to be decisive in this fight. Ferrari fight for another world championship but they definitely won’t collapse if they don’t win it.

          Moreover, as team orders are allowed, if any team didn’t use them, it would deliberately put itself at a disadvantage. So it’s also a case of ‘Better to win by admitting my sin than to lose with a halo’ (a line from ‘Evita’ movie).

      2. The Next Pope
        18th March 2013, 12:10

        Yes, voice of reason, agree completely.
        Although I had to give props to Sutil for bunching up the leaders, holding up a newly pitted Vettel I believe? Someone correct me.
        My vote goes to Massa and Kimi.

      3. petebaldwin (@)
        18th March 2013, 12:39

        His track position was due to him not having gone on the super softs however his pace and race craft whilst on the same (yet older) tyres than Vettel, Alonso and Massa was impressive given the fact he has been out of F1 for over a year.

        Di Resta finishing 8th shows that Force India have a decent car – certainly in cold conditions at least and he would have cought and passed Sutil had he been allowed.

        1. @petebaldwin

          His track position was due to him not having gone on the super softs however his pace and race craft whilst on the same (yet older) tyres than Vettel, Alonso and Massa was impressive given the fact he has been out of F1 for over a year.

          This is how I see it too.

    2. @mojopixe Look at the data, at first glance it looks like he had better pace but that was not entirely true, what’s true is that he made an error free race, he only showed some rustiness when he was taken by Vettel but Sutil was never that good in wheel to wheel, and Vettel is always very gutsy.

  6. It’s Felipe Massa for me. He really shone on Sunday and had his team been strategically sharp he would have finished higher up. I think Massa is going to surprise everyone this season.

    1. I think Massa is going to surprise everyone this season.

      It’s hardly a surprise. The end of last season has clearly shown he managed to get past the dark phase of his career. And provided with a decent car (which the F138 suprisingly is, for now) I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to snatch a win or two and a couple of podiums on the side this year.

      A surprise would be Felipe challenging for the title, but solid classifications should be his regular routine, to be honest.

      1. @tony031 @freebird78 I agree, it seems like Massa is back on form, the car is good and I expect him to (overall) match Alonso in qualifying. A win is definitely a possibility and I think he’ll be on Alonso’s pace, but he’s just not as efficient a driver as Alonso is, so I can’t see him being in the title battle.

    2. @freebird78:

      It’s Felipe Massa for me. He really shone on Sunday and had his team been strategically sharp he would have finished higher up. I think Massa is going to surprise everyone this season.

      It’s Jules Bianchi for me. He HAD really shoWN on Sunday and had his team been strategically sharp and fast he would have finished higher up. I think he is going to surprise everyone this season.
      Ok sorry, maybe I’m a being a bit cynical but at least he is not a no.2 driver in any team.

    3. But he did smash the car on Saturday. The crash was quite big and very looks to get away with it.

  7. Gotta give it to kimi,his race performance was exemplary.Great peformance by sutil,bianchi and alonso.As Martin Brundle stated, its like Alonso has a permanent lease on the podium steps.:D

  8. Without a doubt for me, it is Raikkonen’s turn. The strategy was good, and he executed it to perfection.

  9. Bianchi performed admirably. Kimi was also excellent, but I went with Bianchi in the end, since it was his debut! I expect Sutil will get a lot of votes, although tbh his performance was mainly due to his strategy, which left him 7th, on par with Di Resta pretty much. Good drive, defended well on the medium tyres, but it’s been getting a lot more praise than it deserved tbh.
    Good drive from Massa to keep in touch with his team-mate for most of the race, but he faded badly by the end. Shame, as he could have easily been on the podium.

    1. I both agree and disagree with the Sutil aspect; he only got to where he was up front due to being the lead man on the Medium tyre.
      However, you needed a talented driver to stay up front, especially with the pressures Fernando, Seb, Felipe and Kimi brought. He picked his battles well.
      But, it would have been interesting to see what Di Resta would have done in comparison, had he sat out Q3 and started on Mediums, as well.

      1. Look at the others who started at with mediums and then look at Sutil. He’s bad luck was that the temperature of the track was higher at the beginning of the race, and it lowered during the race, making it difficult for him to make those SS Pirellis work. He should have finished at least 5th.

        1. I disagree and point out that all the rest that started on soft’s were laden with fuel, they had done at least three laps and there should have been a greater advantage with a rubbered in track on the last few laps.

          1. But there clearly wasn’t. Or do you really think those laps were Sutil’s fault?
            Fact is the car was slower empty than at the beginning with those same tyres.

          2. Overall I don’t believe there was any advantage nor disadvantage, the super soft’s were good for a few laps and that was it, but they had to be used and thus in the end Sutil’s drive was no more exceptional than his team mates, except he could stay out longer than anyone else in front of him on his first stint.

        2. Sutil led the race in two different occasions and having Vet on his tail he managed to find a bit of a margin when everybody was thinking he was just going to be nailed in a blink. It was not only due to strategy, it was a very fine driving… and apart from all that we cannot forget he was one year off.

  10. If Bianchi continues to drive the way he did for the rest of the year, he’ll be moving up to the midfield and eventually one of the top teams pretty quickly. My vote goes to him.

    1. It’d be nice to see him move up at the end of this season, where everyone really starts from something new, giving him a better chance to succeed I would imagine. The guy clearly has speed, and I can’t wait to see what he can do.

  11. Bianchi. Driving for Marussia on your debut, you’re hardly going to be able to do anything special but he did.

    While almost all the other rookies made mistakes he didn’t, even in the wet sessions.

    You’d expect him to be a bit rusty at the start but he got up to 12th at one point. He was only lapped once was way ahead of the other ‘B class’ cars and set a brilliant fastest lap.

    Showed Force India they chose the wrong driver.. in Di Resta, because Sutil was great too.

    1. I don’t get this?
      Sutil finished one position ahead of Di Resta in the race.

      1. @cg33me and everyone else saying you don’t get why Sutil is being praised: Did you watch the race??? That should answer it.
        If it doesn’t, let it be known that while SuperS worked okay at the beginning of the race for everyone, it completely wasn’t working at the end, due to the drop in track temperature. If Sutil had run the SuperS under the same conditions as the rest of the pack, he would have easily held on to 5th place.

        1. @cg22me i meant…

        2. no he wouldn’t have been 5th. the only reason he ended out in front was because he did not get into q3, thus starting on the hard. had he been in q3 he would have been on the super soft and would have had a pretty similar race to di resta, in the end it was like what perez did, not being in q3 because he was actually slower on certain tracks (i am not saying di resta is a faster driver before i am accused of that!) and running a different strategy. It was a good first race for sutil back, but imo not quite as amazing as some people seem to think.

          1. Just compare his lap times with Di Resta’s when they were both on Mediums. Even on the older ones, Sutil was lapping faster than Di Resta. It was a tyre problem in he last stint, unless you believe it was Sutil who was incapable. Di Resta was much faster on the supersofts, compared to Sutil, even with much more fuel load. There must be a reason for this.

          2. you cant seriously be suggesting that he would have been able to keep pace with the leaders and finish 5th?if he had started on the super soft, as i say, he would have had to change tires earlier and do a similar strategy to di resta. i don’t believe sutil is incapable btw, but believe that he was very lucky for most of the race with regards to track position. I am sure di resta ran much of his race in traffic? that may be the reason you are looking for.

    2. Pretty much agree @tommyb89, even if I chose Sutil for showing that getting him back in a car was a good choice after a year out of it.

      Bianchi certainly did all he could have done to silence any people doubting his talents. No mistakes, great speed, one to keep an eye on for certain. At this rate, I don’t even think that elusive first point cannot be achieved with a bit of luck.

      Kimi was good too but he already took the win home, so that is enough palms for him :-)

    3. @tommyb89 Yes, Tom. Absolutely yes. :)

    4. @TommyB89 I actually voted for Bianchi too. Had every right to be unremarkable and invisible in that car on his first race, but was far and away the best of the backmarkers. Didn’t make a mistake and was very consistent all weekend.

      It’s tough to be a Formula 1 rookie these days, so when a debutant puts in an impressive performance like that, I think you have to recognise how impressive that is.

    5. Also forgot to add that he only had two days in his car before the weekend.

  12. Not sure what Alonso did this race to receive those 3 votes. Like Vettel, he maximized his car, don’t really see one over the other.

    Kimi did great to make his strategy work, but it’s got to be Sutil for me, who was the big surprise.

  13. Kimi played the long game, going slow enough to win.

  14. David not Coulthard (@)
    18th March 2013, 11:12

    Massa. He managed to be (almost?) as good as Fernando, and that was enough for me.

    1. Yes, you’re right. Lets see what’s next…

  15. I voted for Bianchi as it is extremely difficult to impress in such a slow car, but he managed to do it. I’ve been very pessimistic about the rookies this year (I still am about most of them), but in just one race Bianchi has already shown some star potential. I don’t think I would be surprised to see him score a point this year.

    Never seemed to have his team mate’s pace and was convinced there was something wrong with his car.

    I’ve heard about this a few times, but I’ve never seen any explanation to what the problem might have been. I can’t help but feel that Grosjean is pulling a Di Resta and is making up excuses for why is was nowhere compared to his team mate. Has anyone here heard what his problem might have been?

    1. Apart from probably having a far from optimal setup with the new parts (after getting only saturday morning to try them out), I am not aware of any specific problems. Then again, who knows what can happen, maybe the ECU was playing up on his car too (as it did on Webber – taking his KERS and telemetry info, Vettel had no telemetry either, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosbergs problem also had to do with that ECU)

    2. I voted for Bianchi as it is extremely difficult to impress in such a slow car, but he managed to do it. I’ve been very pessimistic about the rookies this year (I still am about most of them), but in just one race Bianchi has already shown some star potential. I don’t think I would be surprised to see him score a point this year.

      Doesn’t Bianchi remind you of Alonso and Webber back in their Minardi days?

      I’m now quite convinced Marussia are in for their first point this year. I’ll print this comment and eat it if that doesn’t happen.

  16. I went for Kimi.
    He drove extremely well, and if he had qualified better, it would have been the perfect weekend.
    Congrats to Bianchi and Sutil, too. They were nearly perfect!

  17. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    18th March 2013, 11:19

    For me it was Kimi and Bianchi. But like many, I picked Bianchi :-)

    What a talent he has!, made Max look like he was not even trying :-D

  18. Voted for Bianchi.

    Even though Kimi was flawless he did make a big mistake in quali. It was Bianchi’s first race and he crushed every other backmarker by a country mile.

  19. Is it just me that thinks over the entire race Di Resta did a better job than Sutil? If it wasn’t for a last minute team order Di Resta would have finishes ahead.

  20. Bianchi for me!

    Kimi’s fastest lap at the end proved that he just had a brilliant car. Like the argument used so many times to not Vettel, ‘It is the car not the driver’.

    Sutil did brilliant too but faded on the supersofts. Nevertheless, for someone who was on a break for one year, he did very well.

    But Bianchi was driving his first race ever! And in tricky conditions too. But he put daylight between himself and his teammate. And good job taking on the super softs in the end and doing the 11th fastest lap. It will help him get attention from team bosses up and down the pit lane.

    Very happy that Glock’s place did not go to a pay-driver and to a genuine talent.

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      18th March 2013, 11:43

      Makes us think about what he (Bianchi) could have done is he were driving that Force India…

      1. Indeed!

        I somehow get a hunch that Paul might get the boot midway through the season and Jules will come there along with the 2014 Ferrari engine supply.

        Let’s face it, this is the second year in succession that Paul is being beaten by a driver who is coming back from a year off. And I doubt Paul brings in a lot of cash. Both the Force India bosses are out of money too. Jules is available with (possibly more) talent and (definitely more) money!

    2. Kimi’s fastest lap at the end proved that he just had a brilliant car. Like the argument used so many times to not Vettel, ‘It is the car not the driver’.

      So Grosjean is just that bad of a driver?

      I do agree with the Bianchi-part though.

  21. No clear stand out for the whole weekend as all the leading contenders for it had a dodgy session or two, but I went for Sutil in the end. If ever there was a way to announce that you deserve to be on the grid, that was it. The late meltdown of the tyres which we suffered from happened to everyone, so I’m not going to hold that against him.

  22. It’s Kimi, he was unstoppable in yesterday’s race. He overtook people when he had to, he conserved the tyres when he had to and he pushed the car when he had. He got everything perfectly right. If he drives so good all season and if the car will remain competetive, then he can become world champion this season.

  23. I voted for Sutil but it was close between him and Rosberg for the fantastic laps he pulled off in the wet. Amazing!

  24. Was tempted to go with Bianchi, but had to agree with roughly half the fanatics. It was a brilliant performance from Kimi, to make a clean start and disposing Lewis off quickly to make his strategy work. Though I do feel bad for Vettel and Alonso who were at the mercy of their tires. Honorable mention: Sutil, he shocked me when he pulled away from Vettel, now that is something you don’t see a FI car do, especially in the hands of a guy who made a comeback 15 days ago.

  25. For the simple favt that kimi said it was an easy win, im going for sutil. Great drive after so long out.

  26. I voted for Kimi Raikkonen as I think he managed to make a 2 stop strategy work in the race and didn’t make any mistakes other than in qualifying, which I think he made up for with his overtakes at the start of the race.

    I think Massa did particularly well in the race too, though as with Hamilton he was quite lucky not to do more damage to his car in qualifying. Also congrats to the 5 rookies who all managed to finish the race, more or less, without incident.

  27. Would have been Sutil if not for the supersoft stint after belying his year off and “rustiness” however I went with Bianchi as he looked like the kind of driver we have been waiting for in the slower cars. One that can outperform the car and challenge the midfield where he can. Yes, Force India probably made the wrong decision… in keeping Paul di Resta.

  28. went for Sutil. Most people are saying it was just down to strategy. I couldn’t disagree more! When the front runners made their stops and switched their worn out SS tyres for Mediums he was still on the medium tyres he started on. Instead of being easy pray from DRS and fresher tyres on his pursuers cars he actually managed to break Vettels DRS range. That was what impressed me most about his performance. Given he’s been away for a year and that he doesn’t have the mileage in the car that Di Resta does, I’d say that’s a stellar performance. His last stint was horrible though and I think FI might be scratching their heads on what happen there. Look at Hamilton he did 20 laps (or something close to that) on SS that he had already used during Q1. Still that good performance from Sutil that has sincerely impressed me. I wasn’t so sure he would be able to get a decent enough performance in this soon.

    1. Thirteen is not “close to 20” ;)

      1. @MaroonJack Yeah it was thirteen, I have no idea how I got 20. Still that was a nice stint on that tyre.

  29. Bianchi for me. Drove with maturity throughout all sessions. Out-performed expectations, and I’ll always go for the un-proven underdog than the guy who’s just doing more or less what he should be!

  30. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    18th March 2013, 12:16

    Definitely Kimi.

    I know that Sutil and Bianchi drove impeccably, but Kimi came from 7th to win the race.

  31. Kimi drove well and won from the 4th row on the grid, has to be him.

    Honorable mentions to Massa, Bianchi and Sutil.

    I think whilst Sutil drove well, he started from a pretty strong position in reality. With Hulkenberg dropping out he was the first of the runners on fresh tyres from the start, which was of significance given the Supersofts were giving up very early. Ultimately, Di Resta would have passed him but for team orders.

  32. I don’t understand why Sutil is getting so many votes. Out-qualified by di Resta and team orders helped him finish 3.5 seconds ahead of his team mate. Sure, he did get some valuable screen time for FI by leading the race, but that was only because he started with mediums and he was always going to drop back. Sutil and di Resta performed more or less as well, so it’s hard to see why one has 17% and other 1% of votes.

    1. @hotbottoms +1! His drive was very much blown out of proportion I believe from the fact he managed to pull away from Vettel at one point. A good drive for sure, but Kimi’s and Bianchi’s were much more impressive in my books.

  33. I voted Adrian Sutil because his race performance really impressed me. He hadn’t raced for 15 or 16 months so you wouldn’t expect much from him but he ended up leading several laps whilst holding off the likes of Vettel and Alonso and he finished ahead of his teammate Paul di Resta after starting behind him. Well done Adrian.

  34. My heart said Sutil, but my head won out and I voted for Kimi. It was a faultless drive on a better strategy, and his speed and relentlessness will serve him well this season if the Lotus is as good as it appears.

  35. Voted for Kimi. If I had two votes I would’ve voted for Bianchi too.

  36. Raikkonen, then Massa. Raikkonen for perfect strategy, cool head and excelent execution of the plan. The only think I can take from Massa is his slightly too cautious approach to the strategy, as he said, Alonso took risk – he didn’t. He could have won that one.

  37. Alonso/Kimi/Bianchi. I would say Kimi (in the better car) but reading that situation when Hamilton locked up his brakes so quickly and leaving the door open was astonishing.

    What I don’t get is the hype around Sutil. It was clear from the start that the one of the midfielders on primes would lead the race at some point. If anything, I’d say his performance on the options was incredibly poor compared to e.g. Bianchi in a Caterham(!)

  38. Massa for me. Provided his race engineer would have been willing to take the same risk as Alonso’s, Massa would have probably finished second. Nevertheless, solid quali, a very strong race, a brilliant start and a tight performance throught the whole weekend. Good for you, Felipe, good for you!

    Other notable mentions, in order: Sutil, Bianchi, Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton.

    1. I went for Massa also. I’m even beginning to think that a change in race engineer would do him some good. Not that I don’t like Smedley, but someone with enough fire to really push him for victory – he seems like a bit of a lapdog for Ferrari these days.

      All the other drivers you mention I also agree with.

      1. If I were Ferrari I would sack that traiter-in-the-house Smedley (reminds me of Nigel Stpheny who put watshing-up power in the Ferrari feul system and later sold Ferrari car design to an British team like him).

        Ever since Smedley talked down Massa few years back using the phrase “Good boy” I am puzzled how Ferrari are still blind to his dis-service to them.

        Sack him at once !!!

  39. I see that my three nominees are also the top 3 at the moment. Coincidentally all three haven’t had the easiest winter testing…

    Adrian Sutil made a remarkable comeback to racing, really impressive. I do have to say, he was running an alternative strategy which made him race in first place for quite some laps. But at the end of the day, he finished just in front of Di Resta, even if the supersofts had lasted just a little bit longer. What was impressive was that at one point he was leading a group with Vettel and Alonso and he was pulling away from them. In my opinion, Sutil hasn’t performed extraordinarily, so therefore no Sutil vote.

    Jules Bianchi had a good opening race, but there were some factors that made it appear more impressive than it actually was. His fastest lap was quick, but then again he was on low fuel and brand new tyres, while the rest of the pack was on old medium tires. Secondly, his teammate had a collision with Van der Garde which left him with a damaged front wing and he also had the two slowest stops of the day. Then if you look at the lap times, it cannot be noticed that Bianchi was significantly faster than Chilton. So I have no idea why people are thinking that Bianchi has performed some kind of miracle this race.

    Kimi Raikkonen is without a doubt my driver of the weekend. He just gave a masterclass in how to use your tires. He achieved something that Hamilton set out to do but he didn’t succeed – in my opinion that shows just how much of an achievement a 2-stop strategy was.

    1. @andae23 Bianchi finished nearly eighty seconds ahead of Chilton. That’s four pitstops….

  40. I have to give it to Kimi. So many drivers deserved it, but Kimi first win, deserves the driver of the weekend

  41. I went with Kimi, but there were other great performances as well:
    – Felipe Massa continued the way he ended last year, i.e. being the Felipe of 2008. Shame that his strategy perhaps cost him a podium.
    – Adrian Sutil. Great drive, certainly blitzed his teammate (apart from the last stint spend on supersofts).
    – Jules Bianchi. Best rookie. Put in a performance comparable to, say, Kimi and Alonso in their rookie year.

    1. Kimi and Alonso in their rookie year.

      Clearly you mean Alonso and Webber? Maybe? Raikkonen made his debut with Sauber in a transition era for the team (from a crap car to a decent one), didn’t really do anything to impress in his first year as an F1 driver and got beaten both on classifications and in the WDC by Heidfeld.

      Not saying he didn’t do enough to earn his seat with a post-Hakkinen McLaren team (his story is very similar to Perez’s, to be honest) but he didn’t perform a class above the car’s potential as a rookie either (something Alonso and Webber clearly did in their Minardi days).

      1. If I remember correctly Tarso Marques did beat Alonso in 2001, so I don’t find his first season very impressive either. I do agree Kimi’s debut-season wasn’t as great as some seem to think.

        1. @diceman He did, statistically. He ended up in front of Alonso in the WDC. It happened because Marques managed to finish the race race at Interlagos in 9th place (out of 9 drivers who actually finished) while Alonso retired with a mechanical failure. But aside from this one-off happening, Alonso always ranked in front of the brazilian in the races (on the few occasions when the Minardis didn’t let one or the other down) and he beat him a whooping 13-1 in quali out of the 14 races they were team mates in, on some occasions by more than 2 seconds. On top Marques grabbed more retirements than Alonso and had a couple of DNQs as well, before getting replaced by Yoong.

          This is just one of those cases where the final season rankings don’t reflect who the actual better driver was, that’s all.

          1. Ok fair points, I had forgot how they qualified that season.

  42. Of course Kimi is a legend. But I voted for Bianchi, dude’s got potential, needs a better car, imho.

  43. Ben (@scuderia29)
    18th March 2013, 14:00

    who the hell voted for hamilton?? XD he was just a roadblock for most of the race

    1. ~Raises hand~ I did because of that best of the rest after Red Bull qualifying performance in a Mercedes I am still sure is being a bit over hyped, especially when looking at that race pace.

      Still hats off to Kimi for getting that two stopper stuck in and being so quick on it and Bianchi for driving that Marussia like he stole it.

      Sutil on the surface seems impressive but for me was a bit more strategy luck than anything else.

      1. Ben (@scuderia29)
        18th March 2013, 17:23

        im just wondering what hamilton did exactly to be voted as driver of the weekend? consistently slower than rosberg during qualifying up until q3, got in the way of numerous quicker cars during the race, and finished behind Alonso, Massa and Raikkonen who all started behind him…so what did he do that was so great? lol

        1. because of that best of the rest after Red Bull qualifying performance in a Mercedes I am still sure is being a bit over hyped, especially when looking at that race pace.

          In my opinion the race was really a bit of an exercise in tyre strategy and that seemed to be Pirelli’s goal with the tyre selection. There were some standout drives in the race don’t get me wrong and I rate Raikkonen as a driver, but to vote based on who managed their tyres better just seems wrong to me.

          With all that in mind going on the fact that everyone was pushing their hardest in Q3 as the track dried I just like the way how Hamilton cheekily stuck it up there with the clearly superior Red Bulls.

    2. Haha, when a driver of Hamilton’s caliber gets to be called a road block, you know there were some stunning performances at the sharp end. :)

  44. what’s with all the sutil love? sure, he drove well…but his time in the spotlight was artificial. he was out of phase with the rest of the contenders, and when the rain didn’t come and he had to run the same tires everyone else already had, he quickly fell to 7th (8th on merit). he put in a very respectable performance, but not quite as respectable as mr. raikkonen.

  45. Kimi, although he didn’t qualify too well, he drove a great race and barely broke a sweat by the looks of him upon exiting the car. He has really improved his fitness.

  46. Ironical but Bianchi had his fastest lap, faster than Sutil’s. They both did their fastest laps with super-softs in their last stint. But that’s not the reason I voted for Bianchi. It was the difference with Chilton.

    1. being better than Chilton doesn’t mean you’re good. that means you are not creepy

  47. Voted for Kimi, but Bianchi comes very close. Marussia were actually quite lucky that Razia ran out of money before the season started.

  48. I chose Bianchi, by far the best out of the backmarkers and looked poised to take advantage of any mistakes that midfielders might have made. Given that this was also his debut, very impressive.

  49. Andrew Simmons
    18th March 2013, 16:26

    How can anyone say Massa was good this race? Because he wasn’t outside the top 10 fighting williams or toro rosso’s? He held up his teammate, he didnt even bother trying to overtake the slower Vettel, even when Alonso used his brain and undercut both of them he absolutly left them both standing in pace, so why couldn’t Massa get by Vettel instead of just cruising behind and not even attempting to do anything?

    Simple. Because he is rubbish. Lauding him for being 21 seconds behind his teammate and 11 seconds behind Vettel. Seriously. Just ludicrous.

    1. He held up his team mate

      I don’t consider out-qualifying a driver who has the same car as you and staying in front of them a bad thing.

      Massa was entirely right to defend his position from Alonso at the start and it’s to his credit that he stayed in front as long as he did.

      1. I agree entirely with Keith. But gosh, only the first race of the season and already there are people complaining because Alonso’s teammate didn’t go into the gravel to let the Spaniard pass.
        Seriously. Just ludicrous.

      2. What @keithcollantine said. And apart from that, it’s driver of the weekend. Massa was strong in quali, had a brilliant start and raced well up until the bad strategy decision threw him off 2nd place and behind Vettel.

        Simple. Because he is rubbish. Lauding him for being 21 seconds behind his teammate and 11 seconds behind Vettel. Seriously. Just ludicrous.

        …and about 15 seconds in front of Hamilton and Webber. Does that mean those guys are rubbish too? And when did finishing in 4th place become a standard for being rubbish?

        You seem to forget speed is not the only factor here. Those gaps could be related to tyre management or simply there because he backed off once he realised there’s no point in pushing as Vettel’s pace was stronger towards the end of the race. Tyres behave differently on different cars and there’s a decisional factor involved too. You can’t judge a driver JUST by the gap between him and the guys in front at the end of the race.

        Just say you don’t like Massa and we’ll understand that but don’t start fabricating arguments out of nothing. That’s just wasted time there as no one will take you seriously.

  50. Bianchi was very good, Sutil was impressive in the race and Vettel was electric in qualifying – nobody could touch him. But my driver of the weekend has to be Kimi Räikkönen – not the most stellar of qualifying performance but boy did he make up for it in the race and setting fastest lap two from the end on older tyres than the guys chasing him was impressive.

    1. I no when Webber qualifies 2nd on the grid you know its unbeatable

  51. And who was the poorest driver? Maldonado?

    1. Perez ?

  52. Bianchi showed potential in such a messy car like Marussia (shame he was so long only the test driver). Sutil was surprisingly fast in Force India, which seems to be the fastest middle grid team, but only one driver was consistently quick (during whole weekend)- Kimi Raikkonen. He could have had disappointing qualifying, but Lotus never have been quick on wet (remember Germany last year, where Kimi should be in front line considering FP3 pace, but it was massive rain during qualifying). Race was his masterpiece and very good start of the season. I think we could see many more such a dominant victories from Iceman this year. Hope so.

  53. I thought Bianchi beat both Caterhams but the article above says otherwise.

    1. Bianchi beat both Caterhams as stated in the article:

      Jules Bianchi – Looked quick in practice and qualifying, easily ahead of the Caterhams and threatening to exploit any slip-up by the midfield runners

  54. I had to vote Kimi – but looking at the results so far, I wish I’d voted for Massa as it is shocking to see Alonso 1% ahead of him.

  55. @Keith: “Sebastian Vettel – Topped both Friday practice sessions, delayed by glitch on Saturday but stormed to pole position. Couldn’t get same tyre life over a stint as Red Bull and Ferrari and was jumped by Raikkonen and Alonso – the latter was potentially avoidable.”
    shouldn’t it be “.. over a stint as Lotus and Ferrari and..”

  56. An instruction to let his [Valtteri Bottas] team mate pass at one point appeared to go unheeded.

    I wouldn’t let him pass either.

  57. @keithcollantine, the following quote relates to Vettel, I assume you mean Lotus rather than Red Bull!
    Couldn’t get same tyre life over a stint as Red Bull and Ferrari

    I went for Sutil, his performance was impressive considering it was a dry race and even though he ended up a few places down after suffering terribly in the super soft tyres it isn’t often you see a midfield runner anywhere near the front so deep into the race in dry conditions. Bianchi also did a great job.

    Massa was solid but not anything worth driver of the weekend I don’t think, on that measure Alonso had an unspectacular drive, being more-or-less matched by his less fancied team mate. Now that Massa has found his mojo Alonso can’t play the ‘my car is rubbish’ card every race weekend so he needs to move forward from solid podiums in his rubbish 2012 car to regular victories in his somewhat better 2013 challenger if his previous comments are to be believed. Raikkonen quietly gets on with it as usual, but winning from 7th on the grid is pretty rare and so he deserves a lot of praise. Hamilton also performed well and I think if Merc can sort out strategy he can be mixing it with Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen for podiums regularly this year.

    So in my rankings for this weekend it’s Sutil, then Bianchi then Raikkonen and Hamilton tied for third.

  58. (@todfod) This completely, I really like Kimi and massively respect Alonso, but to me Sutil was the driver of the weekend. It’s a shame Pirelli bought the SS instead of normal soft or he might’ve ended up on the podium, but then again I think enough has been said about the tyre farce this weekend.

  59. I’m going to have to go with Sutil. He made the correct choice by starting on the medium tyres, everyone else had to pit before him and he lead the race on two separate occasions on his “2nd debut” you could say.

  60. For me it was Jules Bianchi. He massively impressed me. I just think he blew away his closest rivals and I reckon by the end of the season he will have definitely scored a point.

    He just seems to have a very experienced head on such young shoulders and it is really encouraging to see.

    Honourable mention must go to Sutil and Raikkonen but they would be drivers of the race, not the weekend for me.

  61. 23kennyboy23
    19th March 2013, 11:32

    Interesting to see the votes given that Vettel and Hamilton were the only top drivers to qualify and finish infront of their teammates. though I guess Alonso and Kimi were just behind theirs.

  62. Probably the obvious choice but I voted for Raikkonen, looked after his tyres and pushed when he need to, I also felt he could have gone quicker if needed.

    Second choice would be Bianchi who put in an impressive debut.

    Third would be Sutil, an eye catching performance after a year out. There were a few areas you would mark him down, which is why he wasn’t my driver of the weekend, such as being beaten in qualifying by his teammate and the fact that missing out on Q3 meant he had the opportunity to go with the strategy he did, and of course if it hadn’t have been his teammate behind him in the closing stages he would have lost a place.

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