Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Sebastian Vettel – Looked on course for another pole position but a mistake at the first corner opened the door for Webber. By the time they reached the same bend the next day Vettel was ahead once more, after which he streaked away at a devastating rate. He was 40 seconds clear at one point before backing off in heavy traffic during the final laps.
Mark Webber – Hadn’t looked especially competitive in Q1 or Q2 as he edged towards the RB9’s sweet spot, but his final Q3 run was good enough to take advantage of a minor mistake by Vettel for his second pole of the year. However a customary sluggish getaway and indifferent opening stint on used tyres saw him drop to third. He rallied on the harder tyres, passing Rosberg, but was a distant second to Vettel.
Fernando Alonso – Knocked out in Q2 for the first time this year on “one of the tracks where we suffer a bit more than usual”. He fought back in typical style during the race with excellent pace during his middle stint. He was fortunate that his off-track excursion while passing Vergne left him with neither back injuries (he landed with a 28G force) nor a penalty, as he recovered fifth place.
Felipe Massa – Beat Alonso in qualifying for the fifth time in six races and raced very well, passing Hamilton and Sutil. Had his team put him on soft tyres for his final stint, which seemed a realistic strategy, fifth place was definitely possible.
Jenson Button – Couldn’t get the car to turn in the way he wanted to in qualifying despite cranking the front wing up to maximum and reducing the rear wing angle. Having been sixth in final practice he was knocked out in Q2. he then became a victim of the ‘carbon fibre zone’ for the third time in four races, but admitted he had none to blame but himself for hitting Di Resta. An excellent 44-lap stint on mediums at the end of race hinted at what might have been.
Sergio Perez – Problems in final practice limited him to 18th but he rose above them in qualifying and was McLaren’s sole representative in Q3, taking ninth on the grid. “If we’d found a couple of extra hundredths, we might even have been seventh – it was achievable,” he said. Lost out to Alonso at the start and as in Japan was held up in the pits by one of his rivals making a too-hasty getaway. Two-stopped to ninth, passing Sutil on the last lap.
Kimi Raikkonen – Said he was happier with his car after switching back to the long wheelbase chassis, though it was probably the only thing he was happy about following his row with Lotus over his pay in the build-up to the race. Adding insult to injury he was thrown out of qualifying due to a technical infringement, then clashed with Van der Garde at turn one and had to retire. It’s easy to say in retrospect this could have been avoided had he started from the pit lane – a decision he defended – but it’s not like Vettel hadn’t demonstrated this last year.
Romain Grosjean – Couldn’t quite pin down a set-up for qualifying, where he was unhappy with the front end. Losing gearbox sync didn’t help matters, leaving him behind Raikkonen on the grid. Took advantage of Hamilton’s delay at the first corner to take fourth. But pitting on the same lap as Webber cost him time behind Gutierrez and hindered his efforts to get in front of Rosberg. He eventually finished a second behind the Mercedes.
Nico Rosberg – As in India he was the quickest qualifier not in a soft-tyred Red Bull. He took the fight to them for as long as he could in the race but given their performance advantage it’s doubtful he could have finished higher than third.
Lewis Hamilton – Spun in Q3 due to a broken right-rear wishbone. Mercedes replaced the entire rear suspension on his car before the start and more work was being done on the grid. But after thanking them for their efforts Hamilton endured a difficult race, getting trapped behind Gutierrez, then losing more time behind Sutil which allowed Massa to pass him. He later admitted he wasn’t able to get as much out of the W04 as his team mate could.
Nico Hulkenberg – Delivered “a perfect lap” in qualifying for sixth on the grid. Keeping the Ferraris behind always looked like a tall order and he was behind them by mid-race, but then a penalty for an unsafe release from his pit box scuppered his points chances.
Esteban Gutierrez – Not for the first time this year he went out in Q1 while his team mate reached Q3. His team apologised after he missed his chance to set a final lap in Q1 by one second. Didn’t make particularly quick progress with an unusual medium-soft-medium strategy, and although he remained unlapped he was only a few seconds in front of his penalised team mate at the flag.
Paul di Resta – His optimism after qualifying only 12th was vindicated after a fine drive to sixth place, the first driver home on a one-stop strategy. Though repelling Alonso’s soft-tyred Ferrari was always going to be a challenge he did will to hold back Hamilton’s faster Mercedes.
Adrian Sutil – Wasn’t as comfortable with his car in qualifying and was knocked out in Q1. He also made good progress with a one-stop strategy, starting on the medium tyre unlike Di Resta, but an early stop left him with a long 27 lap stint on softs. However he only lost one place – to Perez, on the last lap – and came away with a point.
Pastor Maldonado – Qualified ahead of Bottas in Q2, blaming traffic for not getting closer to the top ten. Williams again had some of the slowest pit stops due to the changes in their procedure to prevent wheels being lost, and his second stop dropped him back to 16th. A good final stint left him just outside the points at the end.
Valtteri Bottas – Said he was disappointed with his qualifying result – he believed the car was capable of Q3 but lost time behind Raikkonen in the final sector. Williams split their strategies, putting Bottas on the medium tyre, and as he struggled for grip at the start fell behind the Caterhams until his tyres came in and he was able to pass them. Saved the soft tyres for his final stint but was unable to go on the attack as he had to slow down and let Vettel lap him, spoiling what could have been an interesting end to his race.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Locked up on his last lap in Q2 and with that went his chance of getting into the top ten. Tried to one a one-stop strategy but his tyres dropped off too quickly too soon and he had to make a late pit stop.
Daniel Ricciardo – Said getting into Q3 was “a good achievement”, though he couldn’t manage any higher than tenth. But his start was dreadful, losing seven places: “I had to run wide to avoid some accidents and from then on, my race was pretty much over.”
Giedo van der Garde – Said Di Resta held him up in qualifying, but it’s doubtful he would have qualified any higher. Fell behind Pic at the start but after pointing out he was quicker than his team mate he was eventually waved by and finished ten seconds ahead.
Jules Bianchi – A suspension failure in final practice caused a crash which damaged his gearbox. The team had to fit a replacement and the subsequent penalty relegated him behind Pic and Chilton. Was surprised to be so far off the Caterhams’ pace in the race, and finished only five seconds ahead of Chilton.
Max Chilton – A DRS glitch hampered his qualifying effort, but in the race he was close to Bianchi on performance.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Gap to team mate
|Laps leading team mate
|Gap to team mate
|Not on same lap
|Not on same lap
|Paul di Resta
|Not on same lap
|Not on same lap
|Giedo van der Garde
Review the race data
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix lap charts
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps
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 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend?
- Max Chilton (5%)
- Jules Bianchi (0%)
- Giedo van der Garde (1%)
- Charles Pic (0%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
- Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
- Valtteri Bottas (0%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Adrian Sutil (1%)
- Paul di Resta (10%)
- Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
- Lewis Hamilton (1%)
- Nico Rosberg (7%)
- Romain Grosjean (3%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (3%)
- Sergio Perez (1%)
- Jenson Button (0%)
- Felipe Massa (4%)
- Fernando Alonso (8%)
- Mark Webber (2%)
- Sebastian Vettel (53%)
Total Voters: 538
2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Sixth Driver of the Weekend win for Vettel
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fans’ video gallery
- Dull Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gets very low rating
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix team radio transcript
- 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend in Tweets
Images © Red Bull/Getty, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Force India, Caterham/LAT