Vettel voted Driver of the Weekend for the fourth time in six races

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend result

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Sebastian Vettel was voted Driver of the Weekend for the fourth time in the last six races after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Here’s what you had to say about the world championship leader’s latest performance and the other notable drivers in last week’s race.

Sebastian Vettel’s Bahrain Grand Prix weekend

Vettel got in between the Mercedes
Ferrari looked strong from the get-go on Friday but Saturday reinforced the impression that Mercedes can extract more performance over a single lap in qualifying.

Nonetheless Vettel split the two Mercedes at the start then made a daringly early pit stop work with a flying lap out of the pits and a little fortune with the Safety Car. After rebuffing a strong attack from Valtteri Bottas he produced a scorching pace to keep Hamilton out of the picture.

Cannot fault him for the +0.4s deficit in qualifying which seems more and more likely down to a special qualifying setting that Mercedes run. Whilst beside the point, I haven’t really come across any article which explains how and why Mercedes benefit from it during qualifying but not the race. Anyway, Vettel out-qualified his team mate by a significant margin, headed Practice times and put in a flawless performance during the race.

Other than shouting ‘this new 2017 formula is brilliant’ at least ten times during the race, I remember trying to convince the missus (who has no choice but to watch F1 every time it’s on) how amazing it was that an F1 car can actually follow another F1 car and more importantly how the art of defending works. A very important part of Vettel’s driving was not just how he attacked (at the start) but how he defended (keeping Hamilton out of the DRS zone when pursuing Bottas and after the Safety Car restart). Just flawless I must say.
Urvaksh (@Thedoctor03)

Topped first and second. Unfortunately the qualifying pace wasn’t there but he didn’t put a foot wrong in the race. Excellent weekend.
Justin (@Boombazookajd)

He’s blowing away Raikkonen in both qualifying and race and he’s beating Hamilton as well.
Patrick (@Anunaki)

Bahrain Grand Prix winners and losers

Perez climbed through the field to take seventh
While Vettel took half of your votes, Sergio Perez was a clear runner-up as one in four of you picked him as the star of Bahrain.

Perez dropped out in Q1 after being delayed by the yellow flag due to Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Toro Rosso. However from 18th on the grid he charged through the field for an excellent seventh.

Qualifying was not down to him but on Sunday despite Force India’s poor pace both on qualifying trim and race trim, Force India delivered, they had no power unit glitches, no bad strategy calls on Perez great moves great result.

I’m not sure what happened to Ocon he had a really strong start of race, he was the star of the start, he was quickly into the points, still really professional job.
Pennyroyal tea (@Peartree)

Speaking of Sainz, it was a hero-to-zero weekend for him after China:

I know Sainz wasn’t at fault for what happened in qualifying this race weekend but surprisingly, in most of the last few races, even including some towards the end of last year, Kvyat has being beating Sainz quite a bit more often in qualifying.

In Bahrain, Sainz made a huge mistake. I’d say nearly as bad as what Kvyat did to Vettel in Russia last year only it resulted in a double retirement. That was a very clumsy mistake from Sainz there.

Kvyat had a strong race with loads of good little scraps with other drivers. Although he did seem to keep getting pushed right off the track at times. Although it was out of the points, it was certainly an entertaining drive.
Ben Rowe (@Thegianthogweed)

Another driver who stood out for many was Nico Hulkenberg:

He was a huge 1.2 secs ahead in qualifying and was on a different lap to Palmer in the race.

It’s such a shame that people seem to get swept up in the end of Mercedes dominance. Not that Vettel was bad but I wouldn’t say he did anything exceptional this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel’s Driver of the Weekend wins from 2011 to date

Driver of the Weekend: The Twitter verdict

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

Browse all 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix articles

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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29 comments on “Vettel voted Driver of the Weekend for the fourth time in six races”

  1. Why is everyone assuming Lewis got pole because of some “special qualifying setting” that Mercedes run? Where is the evidence that Ferrari do not have this setting on their engine? I am inclined to think there is not much difference between Ferrari and Merc in qualifying mode, and if Lewis was the driver in the other driver in the Ferrari, he would still come out ahead of Vettel in the qualifying battle, more often than not.

    Judging from race pace regarding the 3 races this season so far, the Ferrari is clearly the faster car in race trim, and i think many who voted these DOTW wins are still assuming this is the same Ferrari of past seasons.

    1. Um… If Ferrari had that setting, then they’d be using it? Mercedes can turn their engine up further, hence being faster in qualifying. In race pace I’d say they’re about even.

    2. @kbdavies Maybe it’s not so much about the Ferrari, but more about the Merc still having the same strengths and weeknesses back from 2012/2013. Their qualy pace seems a lot better than their race pace, not only towards Ferrari but compared to the entire field who are all having a smaller gap in race pace than in qualy. Merc are also still hurting their rear-tyres and are stronger on front-limited tracks. It’s just that the overall gap the past years was so big, they were still ahead in the races.

    3. Did I watch a different qualifying session or was it not Bottas who was on pole in Bahrain? :)

      1. Sorry, replied the same before scrolling down

    4. @kbdavies You ask for evidence and then continue to claim things you have no evidence off.

    5. Mercedes get 3/3 poles (with 1 front row lockout) – “there is not much difference between Ferrari and Merc in qualifying mode”
      Ferrari get 2/3 wins (with no double podiums) – “Ferrari is clearly the faster car in race trim”.

      1. @david-a
        Glad I’m not the only one who noticed this hilarious double standard.

    6. Why are you assuming that Hamilton would cone out on top of Vettel more often than not in qualifying? Where’s the evidence?

      Why are you assuming that the Ferrari is equal in qualifying and much quicker in race pace? Where is the evidence? (I can see how you would come to this conclusion because you seem you assume Hamilton is very superior to Vettel both in qualifying as well as race pace).

    7. @kbdavies

      I am inclined to think there is not much difference between Ferrari and Merc in qualifying mode… the Ferrari is clearly the faster car in race trim

      Hahaha, take off your Hamilton tinted glasses mate.

      Mercedes is still pretty clearly the fastest car in qualifying, and apart from China, in the other two Q sessions it wasn’t even that close.

      In the race, the cars appear evenly matched.

      1. @kingshark
        if we put other tinted glasses and watching Kimi then Ferrari is not even closer :) :P
        But i guess the Strategy of Vettel is good this season i just hope they get better with Kimi as well, he didn’t have best of himself but his strategies are worse than what Vettel got. If they aren’t getting better kimi should shout like he did in past 2 races well before than he was doing now

    8. many who voted these DOTW wins are still assuming this is the same Ferrari of past seasons.

      Also Assuming this is the same Mercedes PU of past 3 seasons I guess

    9. I agree, Hamiltons qualifying performance seems more solid than Vettels but the Merc also seems faster. It would take both an stellar drive from Vettel and a mistake from Hamilton for Ferrari to take pole.

      Similarly Vettel seems to have mastered the 2017 tyres and i dont belive Ferraris overhand in racepace is solely up to the cars. Maybe its time for Hamilton start taking the test and practice seriously and not just treat them as boring musts. Vettel is testing tyres to 9pm and the day after hes out eagerly testing tyres again, maybe training pays of after all.

    10. Lewis wasn’t on pole, Bottas was.

    11. Fukobayashi (@)
      24th April 2017, 12:34

      Basically Lewis is in that category now where people like to think it’s all the car and not him. Vettel had that problem but hes shaken it off by spending a couple of years away from the sharp end. If Lewis left F1 tomorrow most people would be crying at the Vettel domination as neither of the Finns would be able to touch him. Lewis deserves more credit.

  2. Not that Vettel was bad but I wouldn’t say he did anything exceptional this weekend.

    “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all” – This quote which I first heard from watching Futurama came to mind reading this comment, of course Vettel still won the poll so I guess it only applies to some people.

    1. I see what you mean by using that quote because Vettel was good but I think it’s difficult to be exceptional when leading the race (not that he didn’t have the potential to be, just he didn’t do anything exceptional because he didn’t need to), hence why I rarely think the winner of the race is the DOTW (with a few exceptions like Max last year).

      1. I understand, I think we’ve all been there. I think back to when everyone including me was raving about Kobayashi’s performance at the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix, a race which Vettel dominated yet he only received a fraction of the approval Kobayashi did.

  3. I don’t know what others think about it but I really find ALL of the tweets a bit unnecessary, @keithcollantine. Isn’t it possible to make a selection, of really stand outs that would create discussion on the forum rather than just a endless list?

  4. Have a look at the opening lap onboards in Bahrain. You can clearly see Merc are able to turn their engine up and are much faster vs Ferrari. If they can do it in the race then obviously they will be doing it in qual.

    1. @guybrushthreepwood It was also obvious at the restart after the safety car. Bottas was able to turn up the engine for a lap or two, but then had to resume using normal power.

    2. You don’t need onboards in the first stint of the race its clear that even Vettel got good exit out of final corner and was in the zone to attack with DRS which is around 4-5 tenths to get the car along side Bottas easily pulled ahead of that gap with out DRS showing that Merc PU is still King in the field. The Way Bot attacked Seb at the restart purely shows how much they can use power for one short burst, Bot was much behind Seb than Ham was behind Ric and yet he clawed all that gap like nothing and then the run upto T4, they are really having a big enough jump in that final one mode which is the difference between Pole/Front row and other positions.

  5. IMO, the Mercs are the faster cars in terms of raw speed, period. But in a race situation, there are other factors which come into play over so many laps – team strategies, tyre degradation, driver’s ability to manage his pace and conserve tyres etc. Vettel appears to make the best of the situation where aerodynamics play a major role, as shown by his 4 WDCs with Red Bull. At no time was that car the fastest in the field and certainly never as dominant as the Merc is now.

    The likely reason Vettel struggled in 2014 was that he did not change his driving style to suit the new set-up but with time he has learned to do so. IMO he is now a better driver than he was with Red Bull because he has learned to adapt better to the circumstances, whether it is the car, the circuit or the conditions.

    1. The reason Vettel struggled in 2014 is because he barely got any mileage in his car whereas Ricciardo’s only broke down in testing. I can’t remember the exact difference but i believe Vettel was a total of 6 GP distances down on mileage compared to Ricciardo by the time they got to Canada. The more the season progressed, the better his reliability got and the more he started outpacing Ricciardo.
      Vettel was ‘beaten’ by his car that year. Ricciardo did a solid job but i doubt the outcome would have been the same had Vettel enjoyed the same reliability as Ricciardo.

    2. @loup-garou

      At no time was that car the fastest in the field

      What did I just read?

      1. Maybe in a straight line? Not sure. @loup-garou may need to clarify.

        1. Yes, that was what I meant. The Red Bulls from 2009 to 2013 were never as fast in a straight line as the McLarens or Ferraris and later the Merc. In fact, over speed trap measurements the Red Bulls were often among the slowest.

          The Merc have been the fastest cars in all respects for the past 3 years. That is what I meant by saying that they are now more dominant than the RBRs ever were during the latters’ heyday. Even now, the Ferrari is only more competitive in terms of speed, not yet a real match.

          To illustrate the above point, compare the relative performances of the two Finns this season. Bottas, a newcomer to Merc, has already made an impression with a pole position and two podiums; Raikkonen, a former WDC and experienced with the Ferrari team, has struggled.

  6. Vettel is driver of the decade so far.

  7. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    22nd April 2017, 8:34

    Mercedes F1, it’s happened again.

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