Vote for your 2016 Japanese Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

2016 Japanese Grand Prix

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Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

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

Driver performance summary

DriverStartedGap to team mate (Q)Laps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate (R)
Lewis Hamilton2nd+0.013s3/5323rd+5.776s
Nico Rosberg1st-0.013s50/5321st-5.776s
Sebastian Vettel6th+0.079s53/5324th-8.101s
Kimi Raikkonen8th-0.079s0/5325th+8.101s
Felipe Massa12th+0.065s27/5319th-0.56s
Valtteri Bottas11th-0.065s26/53110th+0.56s
Daniel Ricciardo4th+0.084s0/5326th+28.963s
Daniil Kvyat13th-0.062s33/52213th-13.451s
Nico Hulkenberg9th+0.181s0/5328th+1.682s
Sergio Perez5th-0.181s53/5327th-1.682s
Kevin Magnussen17th+0.227s0/52114th+15.711s
Jolyon Palmer16th-0.227s52/52112th-15.711s
Max Verstappen3rd-0.084s53/5322nd-28.963s
Carlos Sainz Jnr14th+0.062s19/52217th+13.451s
Marcus Ericsson18th-0.11s52/52115th-15.308s
Felipe Nasr19th+0.11s0/52119th+15.308s
Fernando Alonso15th-0.032s34/52216th-4.354s
Jenson Button22nd+0.032s18/52218th+4.354s
Pascal Wehrlein21st+0.208s2/52222nd+19.86s
Esteban Ocon20th-0.208s50/52221st-19.86s
Romain Grosjean7th-0.586s50/52211thNot on same lap
Esteban Gutierrez10th+0.586s2/52220thNot on same lap

    Vote for your driver of the weekend

    Which driver do you think did the best job throughout the race weekend?

    Who got the most out of their car in qualifying and the race? Who put their team mate in the shade?

    Cast your vote below and explain why you chose the driver you picked in the comments.

    Who was the best driver of the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

    • No opinion (0%)
    • Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
    • Romain Grosjean (1%)
    • Esteban Ocon (0%)
    • Pascal Wehrlein (0%)
    • Jenson Button (0%)
    • Fernando Alonso (1%)
    • Felipe Nasr (0%)
    • Marcus Ericsson (1%)
    • Carlos Sainz Jnr (0%)
    • Daniil Kvyat (0%)
    • Jolyon Palmer (0%)
    • Kevin Magnussen (0%)
    • Sergio Perez (3%)
    • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
    • Max Verstappen (30%)
    • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
    • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
    • Felipe Massa (0%)
    • Kimi Raikkonen (5%)
    • Sebastian Vettel (5%)
    • Nico Rosberg (51%)
    • Lewis Hamilton (2%)

    Total Voters: 369

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    Author information

    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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    99 comments on “Vote for your 2016 Japanese Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend”

    1. Nobody really stood out for me, so dominant winner Rosberg gets the vote.

    2. Nico Rosberg. This win takes him one big step closer to the title.

      1. Honourable mentions to Verstappen, Raikkonen and Pérez.

        1. And who the hell voted for Hamilton?

          1. And who the hell voted for Alonso?

            1. Donald Trump.

          2. Haha… nice one!

          3. At least no one voted for Sainz

    3. Nico Rosberg. For so long has Rosberg looked like Hakkinen’s Coulthard, Schumacher’s Barrichello, Alonso’s Fisichella or Vettel’s Webber, but he is genuinely looking like a champion, especially after today’s race — fulfilling that promise which shined so bright when he arrived in F1, setting the fastest lap in a Williams on his debut. When he left Williams, I remember Frank saying: “Nico is really a special driver.” I hope Frank’s proud of him.

      1. +1.

        He seem to lack some stuff here and here, especially wheel-to-wheel racecraft, to be at the same level with the likes of HAM, ALO, VET etc, but he also seems to be obviously better overall (especially on consistency) than Coulthard, Barrichello, Fisichella, Webber… maybe even Button, Raikkonen etc. So, I guess he joins Stirling Moss in the “obviously better than tier2 drivers, but not yet tier1 material”.

        1. There are only four races to be decided before Nico becomes teir1 or not. I always rated Keke highly, and Nico has the gift of quickness too. Let us see if luck and talent raises him above Sterling in the stats. Like Napoleon said, “Give me lucky generals…”

      2. +1.

        I think what Rosberg lacks in talent when compared to the recognised elite currently in F1 is made up for in his application and sheer hard graft. It is his single minded determination in the face of sharing the garage with one of the best drivers in F1 that I admire. He rarely complains when decisions go against him and he can be blindingly quick. Racecraft is still a question mark for me but he has markedly upped his game this season and whilst he has indeed made some questionable moves this season he is at least giving it a go and learning from the experience. A worthy champion if he makes it this year for sure.

        1. Not really, average driver (Rosberg) and great qualifier, Rosberg has been consistent enough to maximise what has been gifted/opportuned to him. I feel no need to degrade his ability, and no need to glorify him either. Worthy wdc? Not in my book! If your teammate (Hamilton) is only 33 points from you with that much bad luck! Then you are not fast/good enough (Rosberg). Especially since Hamilton also manages to record a album and date Rihanna.

          1. Being “a great qualifier” is what it takes to win in 2016.

          2. An album less memorable than JV’s and a Hollywood publicity playdate do not an epic season make.

        2. And he gets better? He falls just short of Hamilton then back stronger so Ha.ilton raises hus game to be just infront but Nico is relentless he illed his level again and with some misfortune for Hamilton has put himself in a great position. If you don’t at 1st succeed try try again. If he wins the title he will have defi ed BOUNCEBACKABILITY.

      3. @jaapgrolleman Thanks for the insightful comment.

    4. I want to put a surprise name in and say Marcus Ericsson. He really impressed me this weekend and drove brilliantly to 15th, ahead both McLaren’s, a Haas and a Toro Rosso and only lost out to Magnussen due to an undercut

      Well done to Rosberg, who was flawless aswell as Verstappen, Perez, Vettel, Kvyat and Palmer

      1. He has 0 percent at the moment from 38 votes

      2. It’s Rosberg, but I’ll throw some honorable mentions to Verstappen, Vettel, Ericsson and Perez. Overall a bit of a weak race, no mega standout performances. That’s why a dominant pole+win+win every goddamn session is enough for Rosberg. I prefer not to vote for whoever wins from pole but he was simply better here.

        1. Sorry, didn’t mean to post this as a Reply to your post. Still, I agree with you on Ericsson :P

    5. Rosberg. He deserves to be this year champion. Good weekend also for Perez, Raikkonen, Palmer, Vettel.

      1. Why? He performed really well in the race. But he does no deserve to be wdc! He should win the wdc if he scores the most points, but deserve and worthy is total different question. I feel other drivers on the grid can do his job better in that car and give us more entertainment without the crap racing he represents.

        1. I guess more deserving drivers bog down on the start to make the race more exciting for the fans. Really?

    6. Didn’t see any Japanese driver this weekend, so voted for Verstappen.

      1. Lol. I think mathematically the title is supposed to mean (2016 Japanese Grand Prix) (Driver of the Weekend). :)

      2. Should have voted Alonso, atleast he had a japanese engine….

    7. Got to say Nico. After the drama of the whole ‘someone out to get me..’ comments which I am beginning to believe were twisted by the media to undermine Nico’s efforts this season (see Ted’s outrageously poor and unprofessional interview), he kept his head down and beat Hamilton in P1, P2, P3, Q1, Q2, Q3 and in the race. Both Mercs were under pressure this weekend, Nico handled it better.

      Also credit Max for his defensive drive vs Hamilton at the end, shades of Alonso keeping the much faster Schumacher at bay in his championship years. Great 2nd place. Kimi was also great and could have been 2nd but for his gearbox.

      1. Alonso keeping the much faster Schumacher at bay in his championship years?!? What are you talking about?! In 2005 the champ battle was between Renault/Alonso and McLaren/Raikkonen, while in 2006 Renault had a better car at the start of the season, Ferrari caught up until the end of the season, but reliability wasn’t as good as Renault’s. Overall, things were pretty much even in 2006.

        1. San Marino 2005 for instance. Schumacher was much much faster than Alonso after the last pit stop, but Alonso managed an agonic defense for the last 13 laps and won by about 0.2 sec.

        2. I was talking specifically about San Marino in 2005 and Istanbul in 2006 where Schumacher was in a much faster car, see Massa sauntering of in the distance the same race.

          The myth that the Ferrari was less reliable shows a serious lack of knowledge. Those Ferraris were bullet proof. Schumacher had only one technical DNF in Suzuka compared to the two Alonso had in Hungary and Italy.
          The Ferraris ended the season as the much faster car after Brawn whined about their mass damper system and the FIA got them removed.

          1. yup, Istanbul 2006, best of Tilkedromes, again 15 laps of agonic defense by Alonso with Schu all over. Again he won the scrap but it was almost a photo-finish matter. And it was Felipe’s first victory.

    8. Voted for Verstappen, he was racing. Rosberg was just driving very fast.

      1. “Rosberg was just driving very fast” at which he is extremely good but that doesn’t move the needle for me either.

        +1 for Verstappen as well with honorable mention to Kimi as well and Hulkenberg for his awesome overtake + radio comment

        1. Exactly how I voted, cheers!

    9. Rosberg dominated led session of the weekend, no doubt for me.

    10. *led every

    11. Pleasure to once more vote for Vettel. He thoroughly deserved it. Made a great start, made everyone remember who he is by both taking Perez and Ricciardo like they were driving on 50 lap old tyres and stormed away only to be let down by a terrible strategy call once more. He said his aim was to finish second, his only mistake was thinking that was possible. They should have been happy with third. Instead he was sent on a mission impossible. The third time this year Ferrari choose the softer compound when clearly the harder was the way to go.

      1. Also voted for Vettel. Reasons have been mentioned by @xtwl
        A podium was possible, if only there was a better strategy.

      2. @xtwl I too was tempted to vote for Vettel, he drove brilliantly for the most part but being out qualified by Kimi was the only reason I chose Rosberg in the end. It does seem to be popular to criticise Ferrari’s strategy this year however in this case I think Ferrari made the right call. It was clear as soon as Hamilton pitted and Vettel got caught up in traffic on his in lap that he would lose track position so the only option was to go for the soft tyres and go for the overtake in the first lap or two. If he had gone hard he wouldn’t have got the chance whereas at least on the soft there was the possibility of re-taking the position.

        1. @asanator I agree, but the strategy mistake was not going for the softs, the mistake was waiting four or five laps after Verstappen had already pitted. They should have pitted Vettel the lap after Verstappen.

          1. Yep, that’s true, waiting too long meant he lost a lot of time overtaking backmarkers, only to pit and run into them again @xtwl; still, don’t think Vettel did enough this weekend to be DotW; I do think he had a good weekend, but PER,VES, and ROS were clearly getting more of the potential out of their car for me.

    12. I can’t help but notice the efforts of guys further down the grid. The manner in which they have to hold on to temperamental cars on the track is amazing. Just compare the Red Bull off the last corner compared to the McLaren and Renault. On the other hand, Rosberg was solid and if he wins driver of the weekend I will have no arguments. Best result in every session. Whether that translates into the best performance in every session is another matter.

      1. You’re right about the guys down the grid. Palmer and Ericson both did very well in their underdeveloped 2015 heaps of crap. Both deserve lots of praise for not only this weekend but coming out of the shadows of their team-mates.

        1. True, both those guys (and maybe Ocon too, but I haven’t seen him enough to really judge) had a good weekend, and Grosjean did well too.

    13. Voted for Raikkonen. Was faster than Vettel on one of Vettel’s top tracks. Got screwed by his team both in terms of strategy and reliability. Still, got the best result possible in the circumstances including a wonderful double overtake on Perez and Palmer

      Good weekends for Rosberg, Perez, Grosjean, Palmer

      ARS of the race award: Jointly won by Max Verstappen(for the umpteenth time), the stewards(ditto) and some of the backmarkers(what were they doing?!)

      1. You’ve changed my mind. Now voting for Verstappen.

        1. @hahostolze I wanted to do likewise, but couldn’t find the ARS of the race poll anywhere on the site. Anyway, it’s nice of you to admit being influenced by the above post :)

      2. @montreal95 I agree with that, Raikkonen was the best this weekend in my opinion. Nobody stood out in my view, but Raikkonen was very strong.

      3. Raikkonen wasn´t faster than Vette, he had a good Q3 lap, but was it and wasn´t screwed by his team, actually gotthe bette strategy from the àir.

    14. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      9th October 2016, 15:21

      Nico. The guy is just performing so well, I hope it continues and he gets the title.

    15. Hard to choose this time, nobody impressed me today.
      I can’t vote for Nico, he did all right but had it way too easy. I’m glad that he’s well on his way to his first WDC btw.
      Can’t vote for Max either, legal as it may be his defense is way too risky and he’s asking for a really big shunt (and the guys trying to overtake him should learn to feint!! the great Gilles Villeneuve was great at this, Mark Webber knew this trick also)
      Maybe Ericsson, Palmer or some other guy at the back had a really great drive today but we saw too little of them to know. And both McLaren blokes were disappointing today (I had great hopes for Alonso).
      I could vote for Kimi, good recovery and a few nice moves, but nothing much to write home about.
      But the best moment belongs to the Hulk, great overtake on Bottas and the radio message “See you later” made my day. And gets my vote.

    16. Rosberg is driving like a World Champion. Nuff said.

    17. Rosberg. Obviously.

      1. For sure.

    18. Voted Rosberg, but both Ferrari drivers were great today. Verstappen and Perez were good too.

    19. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      9th October 2016, 16:52

      Voted Verstappen – easy picking as he drove better than the car – yes Rosberg won pretty much all sessions but that is expected in the Mercedes and Rosberg had an easy cruise after Hamilton’s bad start.

      1. This is a race where it should be possible to vote for more than one driver.

        Rosberg ‘dominated’ the weekend in the sense that he kept setting the benchmarks session after session. No matter how much time Hamilton found on a lap, he found a few hundredths more. Hamilton was always there, breathing in his neck, but Rosberg never seemed to feel the pressure, which is a remarkable development. After such a perfect weekend on a track that has a reputation for being narrow and tricky, it’s hard to name anything he could’ve done better.

        Max Verstappen had to fight harder for his second place, which looked to be the highest result Red Bull could’ve hoped for. Ferrari starting out of position due to penalties was helpful, but he still had to stay extremely focussed during the first half of the race to maintain his small gap over Vettel. In the last stint, it was Hamilton who came charging, but Verstappen made clever use of his tyres and MGU systems, keeping Hamilton at arm’s length. When Hamilton finally found a weakness, Verstappen defended his position rigorously, yet not unfairly.
        With this performance, he thoroughly outshone his team mate Ricciardo, who finished almost half a minute and 4 positions behind.

        I think they both deserve the highest praise, I wouldn’t want to choose between them.

        1. This ought to be COTD

        2. This is Suzuka, not Canada, I don’t know how much you credit can give defensive driving on a circuit where defense is easy.

          Also one could see from far that The Redbull and Mercedes weakness and strengths were not aligned for easy passing. That said Ham screwed up. But giving Vês credit on defending skills where no credit should be given is pointless.

          It’s easy to spot people who been watching for a long time. Today’s F1 a driver must drive within the limits of the car otherwise you’re punished hard for exiding those limits. So in my opinion in today’s F1 there’s no driver that outdrives cars.

          1. There’s one aspect about your post I find interesting:
            How’d you do that with your user name?

            The rest, I’m afraid, is just a verbalisation of self-conceit and not much else.

        3. Rosberg had a great weekend, no going wrong on setup. He earned his win. Did he beat Hamilton on eaqual ground and claimed the better dominating driver? Not even close. He needs the breathers to do so. Either engine fault or Hamilton screws up.

          I just realized Nico should be called The Vulture. :)

          1. You’re a real peach…
            You don’t like the guy, we get it (after reading your other comments above..)

    20. I’ve been following F1 since 1958 and I’ve seen numerous teams and drivers come and go, some of whose names elude me.
      I have a (short) list of World Champions who in my mind have an asterisk by the title, meaning they’ve won through circumstance rather than competition.
      I shan’t say who those drivers are because it’s just my opinion and I’m not interested in discussions about my reasons but if Rosberg wins this years championship his name will be added to the list.

      1. On the list you mentioned, I do have a same list and I’ll post it if you don’t mind.
        1982 Rosberg
        1986 Prost
        1994-1995-2001-2002-2003 Schumacher
        2005 Alonso
        2008 Hamilton
        2009 Button
        2010-2012 Vettel
        2014 Hamilton

        1. I don’t have as many on my list but I do have a couple that you don’t, namely Andretti and Raikkonen

      2. @ceevee
        Is Button on the list?

        1. Nase, that’s not how you spell Villeneuve.

          1. @ultimateuzair
            I asked about Button, because I wanted to know about Button.

            Villeneuve was a strong driver in the pre-98 seasons. He clearly outperformed Frentzen in 1997, and at no point did he show a similar lack of pace as Button in the second half of 2009. It was also not the case that Frentzen was disadvantaged by a ridiculous number of technical failures or team errors. And Villeneuve had to fight during the entire season, Ferrari and Schumacher always on his tails. Unlike 2009, when Brawn was nigh-unbeatable for the first half of the season and then aided by the fact that the 3 strongest teams took each other’s points away for the rest of the season.

            You may think what you want about Villeneuve, but if he’s in the same book as Button, he’s in a different chapter.

        2. Yes

          1. @ceevee
            Thanks for the info!

    21. Still not a fan but holy hell did Rosberg dominate this weekend. Really hope to see him take the title.

    22. Rosberg for me. I think the key moment in his weekend was Q3 where he managed to overcome the advantage Hamilton had after the first runs – had he failed that, he could easily be where his teammate was during the race. Had the kind of weekend a serious championship contender has to have.

      Honourable mentions for Verstappen (although I think Ricciardo performed poorly rather than that Verstappen did very well), Räikkönen (his usual luck: when he has the pace to challenge for the podium places unreliability and/or Ferrari tactics hit) and Ericsson (when was the last time a Sauber was actually racing during the race?).

    23. On the list you mentioned, I do have a same list and I’ll post it if you don’t mind.
      1982 Rosberg
      1986 Prost
      1994-1995-2001-2002-2003 Schumacher
      2005 Alonso
      2008 Hamilton
      2009 Button
      2010-2012 Vettel
      2014 Hamilton

      1. Delete this sir! Wrong reply button!

    24. Seb.
      Perfect first few laps. Stood out, therefore.

    25. ColdFly F1 (@)
      9th October 2016, 17:58

      Good drives from the whole top 5.
      Rosberg being the better Mercedes driver the whole weekend. Pity we did not see a direct fight with HAM.
      Hamilton did not impress until he started his come back from 8th, and keeping VET on softer tyres behind.
      Vettel drove very well until his team let him down by calling him in way too late.
      Raikkonen impressed the whole weekend including his overtakes on RIC and PER.

      But my DOTW is clearly VERSTAPPEN. This drive was more impressive than his win in Spain; coming 2nd on merit with both Merc’s in the race, and keeping a faster car behind him.

      1. @coldfly Think Vettel was the one who got Ric and Per in quick succession. Kimi was stuck behind them for quite some time, I think. Esp behind the FI of Hulk. He did get two cars in one go but lost out to Hamilton who rejoined from the pits.

        But I agree, it was one of his better performances in both Q and R.

        1. Yes it was Vettel, not Kimi.

    26. For the first time this year (well, first time in a long time) Raikkonen stood out for me. Think he could have had a very strong result without the grid penalty, which wasn’t his fault, so I went for him.

    27. Easy Rosberg. Wiped the floor in practice, won quali against Lewis, did a flawless race and won, extended championship lead. He is now easy the most successful driver not to win a championship… 23 wins or so?

      What would happen with good start from Lewis? Who knows, but Nico was awesome this weekend.

    28. Spencer Brandsen
      9th October 2016, 21:31

      Max Verstappen. How many world champions have been beaten by a guy just 19 years old?

    29. Rosberg. That was a champions performance this weekend. Put Hamilton in the shade all weekend.

      1. yes what was Lewis excuse this time ?

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          10th October 2016, 10:08

          As soon as he started messing around on Thursday, it was clear his head wasn’t in the game. When Lewis is focussed on anything other than F1 (girlfriend, dad, team, media etc), he loses half a second in pace.

    30. Rosberg, didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend and did a great job in all sessions. It seems as though he could have won the race by a bigger margin, but he didn’t have to and he has put the power unit through less stress because of it. He nailed everything, qualifying (just!), the start and the entire Grand Prix.

    31. Rosberg, Raikkonen, Verstappen. Lots of great performances. Raikkonen was the one passing cars left and right though, two at a time even. I think a lot of drivers were in top form this weekend. Six teams qualified with their drivers less than a tenth apart. Only one team even had a moderate gap between their drivers, the Haas drivers were .587 apart. The other four teams had their cars one or two tenths apart. Pretty shocking consistency from almost every single team.

    32. It has to be Nico Rosberg, an absolutely dominant weekend and never put a foot wrong. Was better than Lewis all weekend in every way possbile

    33. Rosberg owned Hamilton, best of the normal cars Ves, Perez and Vettel, good quali and race

    34. Despite Hamilton stating this isn’t a strong track of his, I think it’s more that it is just a strong track of his teammates. It was narrow in qualifying, but faster is faster, and in the race Rosberg just had it in the bag. He had speed on tap at the start to open a gap and brought it home only as quickly as he needed to. No other driver did anything to really shine to be honest. So a pretty obvious vote for Rosberg.

    35. RoS did a great job. The only reason i do not vote for him is the simple fact he was assisted with a Mercedes car. In that car even Palmer can win titles .

    36. petebaldwin (@)
      10th October 2016, 10:04

      Definitely Nico. Most of the drivers aren’t under much pressure at this point in the season however this could be Nico’s only chance to win a title. The amount of pressure on him must be huge even compared to Lewis (considering he’s already won 3).

      Rosberg was faultless throughout the weekend and beat Lewis in practice, quali and the race.

      1. Verstappen was also faultless throughout the weekend, he beat Ricciardo in quali and he beat him + Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen in the race (mind you that is 3 very experienced world champions in a Mercedes en 2 Ferraris) at 19 years of age in his only second year in formula one.

        1. He didn´t beat Vettel, Ferrari´s really bad strategy calls did.

          1. partly made by VET (at least he takes responsibility for them) so what’s your point?

    37. Once again voted Rosenburg

    38. My vote for driver of the weekend went to Rosberg, he was quick all weekend and apart from the first run in Q3 it didn’t look like Hamilton would beat him to pole. However the main question in recent races has been not who gets pole but who makes the best start, and after a trouble free start for Rosberg he seemed to take an easy victory, I say seemed as he hardly featured in the race highlights on Channel 4, so I assume he always had a comfortable gap and was never challenged. Judging by the gap he had to second at the end I think he must have been managing his pace and doing just enough to win the race and not pushing his car at all.

      Rosberg is now almost certain to take the championship, he can even afford to not push 100% in the remaining races and to finish second to Hamilton if he wanted to and still be crowned champion, but I don’t think he will do that.

      I usually mention other drivers I considered for driver of the weekend, but this weekend I think most drivers did what was expected of them, some may have underperformed but I don’t think anyone had a standout weekend and put in a performance that made you go wow, and I would include Rosberg, my choice for driver of the weekend, in that.

    39. Rosberg had a pretty much flawless weekend but I voted for Verstappen. His race management (harder when not leading) and in particular his defence against Hamilton for lap after lap were both outstanding. In the end he forced an error from Hamilton who may have been better served waiting for another run at him on the main straight. I don’t believe Hamilton could have held the corner in the chicane at his speed if he’d have kept the inside line – he braked too late.

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