Hulkenberg takes second Driver of the Weekend win

2013 Korean Grand Prix

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For the second time in three races Nico Hulkenberg topped the Driver of the Weekend poll, this time following his stern defence from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso during the Korean Grand Prix. Hulkenberg also won with the highest percentage of votes of anyone this season.

Sebastian Vettel made his eighth appearance in the top three this year, but perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he’s now been in the top two for the last four races.

Another driver to feature in the top three for their eighth time this year was Kimi Raikkonen who came in third.

1. Nico Hulkenberg

Started: 8th
Finished: 4th

Hulkenberg put his ever-improving Sauber an impressive eighth – which would become seventh on the grid on Saturday due to Mark Webber’s ten place grid penalty – just two tenths shy of Alonso’s Ferrari.

He made up for that at the start however, passing both Ferraris as they nearly took each other out, to end up in fifth place by the end of lap one.

The quick-thinking Hulkenberg made another place on the first safety car restart with an opportunistic move on Hamilton. While the second safety car undoubtedly aided his cause by giving him fewer laps to defend he did a fantastic job which even Alonso praised afterwards.

Hulkenberg used the superior traction and straight line speed of the vastly improved Sauber to fantastic effect to hold off three World Champions and a three-time race winner to a well deserved fourth place.

I think that the one racer who can win this is Nico Hulkenberg. It is obvious he hasn’t the package to fight for this high position. But he used all possibilities he was given. It was Alonso-like defensive performance from Hulkenberg. There wasn’t a single mistake.

He withstood a sturdy fight with several champions plus high-quality racers such as Rosberg and Webber. He resisted like hell. What I liked most in this race is that Hulkenberg was entering the first and second corners in the same way for entire race. Even when Hamilton overtook him, Hulkenberg didn’t change his approach to these corners and again had beautiful exit.

He absolutely drove the wheels off that car. His defensive driving was one of the best I’ve seen recently. He held off faster cars and punched well above his height. One of the best drives this year.

Just incredible, as at Monza. Not as great in qualifying, but even better in the race, as he was really put under pressure for the entire length. Outstanding work by him, although judging by Gutierrez’s great weekend the Sauber is definitely not the same it was a few months ago.

2. Sebastian Vettel

Started: 1st
Finished: 1st

Another dominating performance from Vettel handed him his fourth ‘grand slam’ and his second in a row.

Vettel only needed one lap in qualifying and never looked back in the race as he escaped completely untroubled. Had it not been for Hulkenberg’s phenomenal ‘underdog’ performance, Vettel could well have had his fifth Driver of the Weekend win.

I am no Vettel fan by any means but he did his thing again this weekend and was faultless.

Hulkenberg just had the benefit of a car that had amazing traction out and good top speed otherwise he would have finished much further down. Gutierrez also kept Massa behind him for a long, long time due to the car being set up so well.

It’s easy to forget how simple he makes it look, but getting it done in qualifying again, controlling the race from the front in a weekend that he didn’t seem to have a clear pace advantage – without drinking! – makes him the more impressive driver for me.

3. Kimi Raikkonen

Started: 10th
Finished: 2nd

Qualifying didn’t go to plan for Raikkonen, leaving him tenth on the grid. But with some assistance from the safety car he made his way up to third, then pulled a very close move on team mate Romain Grosjean to claim the runner-up spot.

Raikkonen had a great race. He overtook Alonso’s Ferrari and Grosjean’s Lotus on-track. Plus another car or two. And this on a track where some others were stuck behind noticeably slower cars. And then he managed to not even give a sniff of a chance to Grosjean, who was on tyres fresher by four laps.

2013 Driver of the Weekend results

Race First Second Third
Australian Grand Prix Kimi Raikkonen (51.2%) Adrian Sutil (17.9%) Jules Bianchi (13.6%)
Malaysian Grand Prix Mark Webber (34.2%) Sebastian Vettel (17.4%) Nico Rosberg (13.6%)
Chinese Grand Prix Fernando Alonso (47.0%) Daniel Ricciardo (18.2%) Kimi Raikkonen (15.6%)
Bahrain Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel (32.2%) Paul di Resta (17.8%) Fernando Alonso (11.9%)
Spanish Grand Prix Fernando Alonso (61.4%) Felipe Massa (10.8%) Kimi Raikkonen (10.5%)
Monaco Grand Prix Nico Rosberg (54.3%) Adrian Sutil (22.2%) Kimi Raikkonen (9.6%)
Canadian Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel (36.8%) Fernando Alonso (24.6%) Jean-Eric Vergne (14.0%)
British Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (52.5%) Mark Webber (18.4%) Fernando Alonso (10.2%)
German Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel (39.2%) Romain Grosjean (27.6%) Kimi Raikkonen (15.9%)
Hungarian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton (63.9%) Kimi Raikkonen (12.4%) Romain Grosjean (12.0%)
Belgian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso (39.1%) Sebastian Vettel (38.5%) Jenson Button (6.9%)
Italian Grand Prix Nico Hulkenberg (48.4%) Sebastian Vettel (28.6%) Fernando Alonso (9.3%)
Singapore Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel (53.9%) Kimi Raikkonen (25.7%) Fernando Alonso (12.3%)
Korean Grand Prix Nico Hulkenberg (69.3%) Sebastian Vettel (14.9%) Kimi Raikkonen (7.2%)

2013 Korean Grand Prix

    Browse all 2013 South Korean Grand Prix articles

    Image © Sauber

    30 comments on “Hulkenberg takes second Driver of the Weekend win”

    1. Is that the biggest margin a DOTW winner has had?

      I really hope he grabs the Lotus seat soon. The tragedy is, I don’t have faith Lotus will be any good next year.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        20th October 2013, 13:08

        He will be devastated if he does move to Lotus and then Sauber turn out to be very good next year with all those Rusky $$$ flooding in.

        I think Lotus will still have a pretty decent car. They’ve been able to annoy the giants for several years now with a much smaller budget.

    2. Fully deserved. He dragged his Sauber into fourth and defended from much faster cars. Hulkenberg should be the person to get the Lotus seat without a doubt.

    3. This is the 3rd German double of the year. Second time Hülkenberg followed by Vettel, earlier in the year Rosberg followed by Sutil.

    4. Some interesting facts:
      – Both Hamilton and Hülkenberg have been in the Top 3 only twice, both times as winners.
      – Vettel, Alonso and Kimi are the only “regulars”, all others have been a max. of two times in the Top 3.
      – 15 out of the 22 drivers have been in the Top 3 at least once this season.
      – Besides HAM and HUL, these other drivers had two appearances in the Top 3: WEB (1st & 2nd), ROS (1st & 3rd), SUT (2nd & 2nd), and Grosjean (2nd & 3rd)
      – Vettel would have 172 points in the 25-18-15 point system, followed by Alonso (153) and Kimi (136).

      1. Even Vettel leads the DOTW Championship. Hahaha.

        1. Funny fact, Vettel by himself equalls Ferrari’s constructor points. Red Bull could win the constructors championship without Mark Webber.

      2. @magon4 Does kinda lay to rest all the theories about favouritism on this site towards drivers like Hamilton and Button. I’d largely agree with those ratings (Maybe Vettel should be DOTW in Malaysia, but that’s a whole new debate).

        1. dodge5847 (@)
          20th October 2013, 18:41

          Button is my favorite driver, however most people genuinely vote for the best of the weekend, as a poll this works well and is true reflection. I wonder how the full table would look if points were allocated for the top ten drivers

    5. Well deserved Nico.

    6. If I have my maths right, I believe this is the third time in his career that Nico Hulkenberg has been voted ‘Driver of the Weekend’ by F1Fanatic readers in his career (Brazil 2012, Italy 2013 and Korea 2013).

      Hulkenberg has also been amongst in the top three in Driver of the Weekend poll results on six occasions in his career:
      Brazil 2010,
      Belgium 2012,
      Korea 2012,
      Brazil 2012,
      Italy 2013 and Korea 2013

    7. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      20th October 2013, 15:57

      Once at the beginning of the year I confused NICOS and voted for Hulk, not imagining he’d become so good later

    8. I have wondered for the past few years why a driver of obvious talent like The Hulk had not secured a seat with one of the bigger teams. It now seems like his size might have been an issue for a while. It will be nice to see him go to Lotus for 2014; Grosjean and Hulkenberg will make a good team.

      1. I have wondered for the past few years why a driver of obvious talent like The Hulk had not secured a seat with one of the bigger teams.

        In F1 is all about timing and unfortunately for Hülkenberg he shows his best performances later in the season, it can be because the car improves later on or because he keeps changing teams and it takes a while to settle in, either way this year teams are willing to wait a bit longer to make a decision on drivers so that’s good news for him.

    9. Cmon Sebastian! Too bad for Raikkonen.

    10. No Gutierrez?

      1. He is terrible and he is lucky to score in points position and I don’t expect he will be on the grid next year

      2. Wasn’t GUT piped out of 10th place in the latter stages of the KOREAN GP?

    11. Nico Hulkenberg has been a bright spot in this increasingly predictable season of Vettel and Red Bull dominance. Not that this is the fault of Vettel or Red Bull, they are simply doing their job exceedingly well. To see Hulkenberg racing with 3 world champions and doing so well is certainly a glimpse of more to come. Best wishes for him and the team that will be wise enough to sign him for 2014.

      1. I’m hoping the rumours that he’s a shoe-in at Lotus are confirmed: he’s been the most deserving young driver of a promotion since Vettel in 2008 I’d say!

        1. @vettel1
          Since hamilton was at McLaren, I can’t argue with that; in recent memory, only really him and Vettel have constantly made their talent in midfield teams apparent and put in truly exceptional performances.
          If Ricciardo doesn’t work out, Red Bull have to take him on; the RBR young driver programme has already been validated by Vettel, and the fact the junior drivers have been so successful in their careers so far; numerous F3 titles etc, so Red Bull shouldn’t feel the need to promote from within.
          Hülkenberg + Vettel at Red Bull in 2016!!

          1. Of course Hamilton also graduated to F1 in 2007 @xjr15jaaag before Vettel did! I would also say that staying with a top team for 6 seasons before moving (from having the outright fastest car in his last season there) isn’t exactly a promotion ;)

            If Ricciardo fails to perform, I think he is almost certain to be replaced by Felix Da Costa should he get the Toro Rosso seat and perform though. Vettel looks set to leave Red Bull to me (provided they don’t remain the top team, of course) and Hülkenberg may settle at Lotus, so Da Costa and who else? Maybe Hülkenberg, maybe.

            I personally think Rcciardo and Felix Da Costa at Red Bull in 2016 though, with Vettel either alongside Hamilton at Mercedes or Bianchi at Ferrari (I don’t think Alonso will pair with Vettel for some reason).

    12. Hülkenberg + Vettel at Red Bull in 2016!!

      Cannot see that happening myself.
      I am pretty certain that Vettel will move on from Red Bull after the 2015 season. His extension of his contract by just one year was a carefully considered move IMO. By the end of 2015, Raikkonen will most probably leave Ferrari to retire, Hamilton would have completed his contract with Merc and McLaren would have had the Honda engine for a year to show their performance. Vettel will move, but is hedging his bets to give himself the most options.
      When Vettel indicates his intention to move from Red Bull, Alonso (his Ferrari contract till 2015 notwithstanding) and Hamilton will be the team’s first and second options as replacements. The Hulk may well be third in the queue unless he does something spectacular in the next 2 years.

      1. I think Vettel is almost certain to go to Ferrari, provided they have a good car. Although what could also be very interesting (and what I personally want to see happening) is Hamilton and Vettel at Mercedes, which is a possibility. I would assume Mercedes would be more than happy to take on a German four time world champion (maybe even more, who knows) to act as an exhibition for their brand, along with one other very fast driver in Hamilton!

        1. Yes, Mercedes & Ferrari are both possibilities for Vettel from 2016 but with the Honda engine coming in in 2015, McLaren are also in the running.

          1. That is of course assuming that McLaren will be resurgent in 2015 and the Honda engine will be good, by no means a certainty @loup-garou

      2. I agree; it will probably not happen, but that would be an exciting inter-team battle wouldn’t it…

    13. With Grosjean on course to be DOTW for Japan, it seems Lotus have an in form possible line up for next year.

    14. (@vettel1) said on 21st October 2013, 18:45
      That is of course assuming that McLaren will be resurgent in 2015 and the Honda engine will be good, by no means a certainty @loup-garou

      I agree, but I think they will improve over the next 2 years. If the McLaren-Honda (has a ring to it, doesn’t it? :)) partnership works better than Mercedes and/or Ferrari in 2015, they will increase their market value.

      All sorts of things are possible:
      – Let us assume that Vettel announces that he is leaving Red Bull at the end of 2015 some 2/3 of the way into the season. The chances are that he will not immediately announce where he is applying for the next job unless one of the other three big teams are clearly dominant.
      – More than anything else, Red Bull will want to replace Vettel with a top driver and my guess is that they’ll be looking at Alonso & Hamilton. Despite the fact that Hamilton will be a free agent by then, my guess is that Alonso will successfully manipulate for that seat.
      – If Ferrari have under-performed in 2014/15, Vettel may not be too eager to replace Alonso and might move to Mercedes or McLaren, depending on dominance. Either way, Hamilton might end-up as his teammate, assuming Whitmarsh et al will welcome him back home.

      It is all speculation, of course.

    15. He’s about to be the new Chris Amon :( If you don’t know much about him, just this quote will surmise: “if he became an undertaker, people would stop dying”.

      Lotus is not gonna be any better than Sauber/FI in 2014 given its budget and brain-drain in recent past. And after all this dance, he is likely to end up around #10 in WDC next year as well, just like past years.

      Such a pity, shows importance of being in the right place at right time. I do think he’s quite worthy of a top class drive. He misses the boat by CONSISTENTLY underperforming in the first half when top teams are looking for replacement for next year. And his changing teams (3 in 3 seasons) doesn’t engender any principals either.

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