Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Vote for your 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Which Formula One driver made the most of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend?

It’s time to give your verdict on which driver did the best with the equipment at their disposal over the last five days.

Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most at Baku City Circuit.

Driver performance summary

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.

Vote for your 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

  • Charles Leclerc (43%)
  • Marcus Ericsson (0%)
  • Stoffel Vandoorne (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (10%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Brendon Hartley (0%)
  • Pierre Gasly (0%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (2%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Sergey Sirotkin (0%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (13%)
  • Max Verstappen (1%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (3%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (4%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (4%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (14%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (3%)

Total Voters: 326

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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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63 comments on “Vote for your 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend”

  1. Dani Ric, for sticking one up MaxV.

    1. I’d give my DOTW to both of them; between them we had 80 laps of exciting racing.
      Charles (my fallback if I cannot choose a pair) only did a single race distance of brilliant driving.

    2. If vote for worse driver then you know who. Will have best vote every race weekend. Lols.

  2. Alonso..absolutely brilliant drive

    1. Me too. He keeps putting the car up where it doesn’t quite belong yet, especially given their quali pace. Really earning his pay check.

    2. I did not see a lot of Alonso, and when I saw him he was being overtaken by Leclerc in his Sauber.

      1. Yes, he was overtaken , but his car was damaged on lap 1, yet he still got back up to 7th!!!
        phenomenal performance, even by Alonso’s standard

    3. Yeah, I think people voted Leclerc because that was an outstanding result for Sauber, but that’s all it was. All Leclerc really did was keeping his nose clean and passing Sainz in the SC restart. Which is great, sure, but not enough for a DOTW.

      In a weekend in which the quality of driving was well below the average, the only driver who did something outstanding was Alonso, who managed not to lose net positions (lost one to Leclerc, got one from Stroll) with a car that was badly damaged.

    4. Found it close between Leclerc and Alonso.

      Leclerc punched above the car’s weight all weekend. Fantastic qualifying performace, followed by a great start, stayed out of trouble and drove a flawless race.

      Alonso had a solid quali, got whacked at the start, drove a car with 2 wheels back to the pits and made a massive recovery with a damaged car from last to P7. Driver of the day on Sunday for sure.

      In the end I gave it to Leclerc just because he showed massive composure as a rookie to bring in such a big result, but Alonso was almost as spectacular.

      Honourable mentions to Sainz and Bottas as well. Don’t think any other drivers impressed much this weekend.

  3. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    29th April 2018, 20:45

    Leclerc easily. Got into Q2 and took 6th

    1. Have to agree the kid did very well, even though the SC didn’t help him.

      He was fighting with Sainz at one point. Of course his finishing position is a result of a few retirements, but he was on top of his game from Saturday all the way to the race.

      We know by now Baku awards those who manage to keep it clean, and he showed the composure and speed to be rewarded today.

    2. It was Charles Leclerc for me too

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    29th April 2018, 20:53

    This below is what I posted on Planet F1 Forum as I am a little surprised by the quantity of votes Leclerc has been getting given the circumstances.

    “I just want to make a point about Leclerc.

    Ocon retired ahead of Leclerc.
    Serotkin retired ahead of Leclerc.
    Hulkenberg retired ahead of Leclerc
    Ricciardo retired well ahead of Leclerc
    Verstappen retired well ahead of Leclerc
    Grosjean retired ahead of Leclerc
    Bottas retired well ahead of Leclerc

    Ericsson and Vandoorne had a terrible race which also helped out.

    Alonso had to drive an incredibly damaged car to the pits. Then managed to get it going but still had some damage.

    I’m overdoing it writing it this way but I’m just trying to make a point.

    You can say Leclerc did better than a number of drivers that retired. But if they hadn’t, I can only see him beating Serotkin.

    Basically, I am pretty much certain that if just 3 drivers retired, he will have been 10th or out of the points.

    I really don’t want to sound like I’m against him as it was a very solid drive, but to me, I am feeling that this is going to turn into one of the most over rated drives due to very lucky circumstances. Ericsson’s race in Bahrain looked better to me. There were only 3 retirements vs 7 here.”

    One thing we can say is he made the most of the situation he was given. So he certainly was good, but I think several other drivers did better than him today. This is basically even more lucky in terms of places gained than Stroll was last year. That said he did do some good defending against stronger cars.

    But I do actually find it quite hard myself to decide who is DOTW. Ferrari looked strongest here this weekend. Hamilton was close to Vettel than Bottas in qualifying. But Bottas managed his tyres really well indeed. He was slow to start with, but with good reason I think. He was trying to manage his tyres. He didn’t constantly keep falling behind, he dropped then came back a bit. Then managed the gap. Then even 40 laps into the race, managed to be doing some purple sectors even when Hamilton and Vettel had pitted. No matter if the tyres Vettel and Hamilton were on were not very good at this track, Unless Bottas was doing extremely well, he would’t be quicker than them. This is now the 3rd weekend Bottas has looked better than Hamilton. It was marginal in Bahrain but clear he was better in the last 2 races. Hamilton just couldn’t find the pace after he pitted and was around 19 – 21 seconds off Bottas. About enough to jump him in the pits and get some faster tyres on top of that. Bottas will probably get my vote. He’s certainly turned around since Australia and would likely be leading the championship by 1 point if not for the puncture. Bottas has had 2 clearly deserved wins taken away from him. The points he’s got in the championship really don’t reflect on how good his last 3 drives have been. Such a shame that he’s 4th.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        29th April 2018, 21:03

        Nase, as you know, I have often gone into a lot of detail about the Sauber drivers in the past, but I can’t tell if you are laughing at my comment thinking it is ridiculous or just surprised by the fact that i’ve written this much.

        You can let me know or if you don’t agree, just say so as we’ve often not agreed in the past :D

        1. Leclerc

          The word lost all meaning

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            29th April 2018, 21:40

            I did that for a reason, as I think he’s been heavily over voted. Not like you don’t over do your comments with other things such as sarcasm.

          2. I just find it funny, don’t spoil my vibe Ben!

            Sarcasm? I? How dare you

        2. @thegianthogweed
          In this case, I’m simply amazed by your twisting of the ‘details’ into a narrative that somehow justifies saying that the non-Ericsson Sauber driver (in this case Leclerc) really hasn’t performed that well at all.
          You’re conveniently leaving out anything that doesn’t fit into that narrative.
          For example, the fact that Leclerc did great in qualifying, taking 1.8 out of Ericsson and qualifying an unlikely 14th.
          Or the fact that he spent a significant portion of the race following the Red Bull duo and matching their pace. The fact that Ericsson’s race was terrible is completely irrelevant here.

          See, there are two standout convictions that permeate your posts: Ericsson and Bottas rule. I’d be okay with that, but the way you twist the facts to minimise Ericsson’s team mates’ achievements is bordering malice, and the fact that you write long ‘analyses’ whose only purpose seems to be confirming that “Ericsson and Bottas rule” (or “non-Ericsson anti-rules”), is a bit tiring. If you could set aside that personal bias of yours for a second (we all have one, but the way we deal with it is what makes a difference), and not praise anything and everything Ericsson does, or discredit anything and everything non-Ericsson does, that’d do a lot for your credibility.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            29th April 2018, 22:03

            Do you remember me a few years ago when ? said Ericsson was the worst on the grid and wasn’t good enough to be there? I don’t praise everything he does. He did really badly here. One reason why Leclerc was able to follow the Red Bulls I believe was because they were heavily scrapping around for position, costing themselves time. I did say I don’t want to look like I’m against Leclerc, but just like many said Stroll wasn’t actually that outstanding in Baku last year, I think the same with it here in Leclerc’s case.

            I can understand why you may have the view that I’m against Leclerc. But I’m not. I’m against the quantity of votes he’s getting over other drivers this weekend. And I don’t know what facts I’m twisting in my statement above. All the points about every driver retiring are correct, and the 3 about Alonso, Vandoorne and Ericsson are correct too. You could even add that Magnussen was out of the way in the race too due to Ericsson causing damage. I don’t understand what is incorrect about my point. He’s had a good race and I admit that, no doubt. But it was so lucky that I think the amount of votes he’s getting is too much. You’ve corrected me before when I’ve been wrong but I don’t see it here.

            I’ll take your point about me trying to describe why I think Ericsson’s decent drives stand out and sort of doing the opposite when his team mate did a good race. I should maybe change my approach here. But like you say everyone will have their drivers that they appear bias towards.

            I think everyone will have someone on this site that they regularly disagree with. I have several. And whenever they say something that I seriously disagree with, I try not to reply. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked for more detail. But sorry if you think it’s a bit unreasonable what I said. But one point I should make it that I’ve had COTD 3 times relating to what I’ve said about Ericsson. So some of the praise I give him seems to be alight with some people. So lets just agree that we have different views on things. There are plenty of your posts that I like to read and hopefully you don’t disagree with everything I say.

          2. @thegianthogweed
            Just one short point, because our exchange would be headed towards recursion otherwise:

            But one point I should make it that I’ve had COTD 3 times relating to what I’ve said about Ericsson.

            I think you’re reading too much into that. You already made that point last year, but I decided to leave it be back then.
            A CotD is not a seal of approval. I should know that, my comments have been CotD’ed half a zillion times over the past few years for stating the darndest things, including one discussion of the pitfalls of translating German modal particles in direct speech (I’m still amazed that anyone actually read that).
            Sometimes, other commenters are CotD’ed for saying the darndest things, including a few comments that indicate a lack of basic knowledge about F1.
            What I’m trying to say is: A CotD doesn’t necessarily validate your point, it’s Keith’s way of highlighting views he finds interesting, be it because they sum up a common talking point perfectly, or because they promote an alternative perspective that could enrich the discussion.
            Just saying “I been CotD’ed with that opinion” amounts to a simple authoritative argument, which is the second-weakest form of an argument after the argumentum ad hominem.

            Long story short:
            I’m trying to be constructive here. I wouldn’t be addressing the issues I have with your comments if I thought you weren’t worth the time. In other words: No, I don’t disagree with everything that you say.

          3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            29th April 2018, 22:50

            Fair enough. Good points made there. My main reason for stating that was just that I haven’t had that many and most of them in fact have been relating to me praising Ericsson’s few good performances. But they are always very different.

    1. I think he would have finished ahead of Sirotkin anyway. And even without all these retirements he would still had finished in a decent position. For me Bottas is the driver of the day but Le Clerc had a very solid race.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        29th April 2018, 21:05


        This is exactly what I think. I think Leclerc had a brilliant race. Especially since he’s a rookie. But I don’t think he did better than several others given what helped him get up there which is why I made my points. I also feel Perez is going to be rather over rated somehow.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      29th April 2018, 21:42

      @thegianthogweed you’re 100% right about Leclerc – people tend to vote based on the result, not the race.

      I went with Ricciardo cause today he impressed the hell out of me. China was okay but he was passing the Ferrari without DRS so it wasn’t really that impressive but he made some spectacular moves on Verstappen today.

      1. Which one did you like the most?

        1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
          29th April 2018, 23:08

          The last one ;P
          More seriously, the one around the outside that would have worked until they banged wheels.

    3. He was quicker than Grosjean, and was fighting with Sainz even without the SC, in a Sauber, the worst car on the grid. Sure, loads of people retired, but Alonso he finished 1.8s ahead of despite being bunched up, and if you go like that with retirements, here he’d have been 11th (- BOT, RIC, VER, HUL and OCO), and Ericsson would’ve been 12th in Bahrain (- RAI, VER and RIC), so yes this is a better result from him than Ericsson in Bahrain. Also, remember that the Sauber, while not as bad as it was last year, is still the worst car on the grid, getting into Q2 was incredible, and finishing 6th, staying comfortably ahead of better cars behind him even after being bunched up by the SC is no mean feat. Put Ericsson in that position with the SC and he’d have dropped to 8th or 9th. This was a superb performance from Leclerc, and even if one of the top guys excelled, he’d be deserving of DotW for me, and clearly for most others.

    4. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      29th April 2018, 23:06

      Last year Lance Stroll won DOTW even though his drive to third was mostly luck. Why did he win? Well, for a start he out qualified his team mate. Secondly, he kept his car out of the wall while everyone else was crashing. Thirdly, he did this as a rookie (who had gained a reputation for crashing) and in arguably the 5th fastest car at the time.

      Now, look at Leclerc. He outqualified his teammate. While drivers like Hulkenburg, Ocon, Grosjean and the two Red Bulls crashed out, he kept his car in one piece. He was competing in only his fourth race in what might be the worst car in the field. He passed Stroll on merit, and passed Alonso which is no small feat. He even kept up with the Red Bulls for a short time.

      Furthermore, to say his drive was lesser the Ericsson’s drive in Bahrain is quite harsh. Ericsson bar the first lap didn’t make any (or very few) overtakes. Most of that was down to strategy, doing a one stop race. Leclerc as mentioned above overtook Stroll and Alonso. Plus the three retirements for Bahrain where drivers who definitely would have finished ahead of Ericsson. Hartley and Perez collided, so there is another two positions gained. Grosjean also messed up in qualifying, so that’s six positions he gained due to retirements/mistakes, without taking into account strategy.

      Ericsson and Vandoorne had a terrible race which also helped out.

      Ericsson was running far behind Leclerc before he started to make mistakes. Vandoorne just couldn’t get his tyres warmed up, something Leclerc managed to do.

      Also, Grosjean was lucky with the safety car that brought him up in front of Leclerc. Based on the fact he was able to pass Stroll and pull away I think he could have passed Sirotkin. In fact, if we are talking about luck, Bottas got lucky that there was a SC, otherwise he would have had to try and pass Vettel on track which may have been tough. He was also lucky Vettel messed up on the restart. Seb himself was lucky Kimi messed up his qualifying. He was also lucky Hamilton locked up, meaning he had to go onto the sub optimal strategy. Hamilton was very lucky with Raikkonen messing up in quali, Vettel messing up his restart and Bottas getting that puncture. Basically everyone gets a bit lucky and in races like this, most of the time nearly all the grid get lucky in some way. It’s whether they can use that luck or not.

    5. I don’t know whether Leclerc is overrated or not, but I agree with your comment. According to me, Bottas should be the driver-of-the-weekend. He did absolutely fantastic job until that fateful puncture. My List:
      1. Bottas
      2. Both Leclerc & Perez
      3. Alonso

    6. He also managed to keep Kimi at bay in a recovering Ferrari for quite some time.

    7. To me Leclerc (and Ericsson) can become DOTW even if they finish 19th.
      It’s not the simple finishing position (otherwise Hamilton would win), or if you beat one of the big teams (then Perez should have been it), but how you drive over the weekend (quali and race) taking into account the relative strengths of the various teams.

  5. Went with Perez. Yes he got out qualified, but judging my Ocon’s sector 3 time he caught a slipstream to do so. He kept himself out of bother in the race and collected one of his speciality opportunistic podiums.

  6. Nobody voted for Sainz? not necessarily the best but he was pretty good today

    1. Would have been a worthy contender if he had qualified in front of Hulkenberg but he was 0.3 seconds slower unfortunately.

    2. not necessarily the best

      There’s your answer – this is only to pick ‘the best’.
      Maybe he came second for all of the people who voted.

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    29th April 2018, 21:38

    Ricciardo for me – one of his best drives and masterclass against Max.

    1. After Max passed him early and held him back for most of their race together? Weird! It was Max that did the masterclass on DR, I would have thought.

      1. Well, robbie, I consider verstappen one of my favourite current drivers, more than ricciardo, but we know he’s more mistake prone than ricciardo.

        What’s verstappen’s usual advantage over him? Speed, so being slower than him and ending up being overtaken once and almost twice, just before the crash, isn’t good!

      1. DR for me.

  8. Clearly Leclerc.

    I’m confused as to why Bottas is beating Hamilton by a wide margin. Hamilton drove better than Bottas all weekend, and Bottas was only leading due to a lucky safety car.

    1. @slicecom
      Looking at their relative speeds, I’m guessing Hamilton and Vettel were on a SS-S strategy from the start while Bottas was on SS-US from the start. I know he tends to do it anyway, but it would explain why he was falling away from Hamilton at the start of the race, and why he was beginning to catch Vettel before he pitted.

      I don’t think Hamilton wildly outperformed Bottas all weekend anyway, certainly not as much as he usually does. The qualifying gap was less than 2/10ths. Hamilton’s race was pretty scrappy too, by his own admission.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      29th April 2018, 23:07

      Did you not notice Hamilton was as fast, possibly slower than Bottas when Bottas was on 40+ lap old tyres? And the gap got to be enough for Bottas to jump Hamilton in the pits. And Bottas will have pitted late enough to get on a better tyre than Hamilton anyway. So even if he came out behind, Because of the tyre and life difference, Bottas will only have had 10 laps or so to do on really good tyres. Almost no doubt at all would he have got Hamilton and a small possibility that he managed to overtake Vettel too.

      Also, Bottas didn’t keep falling away did he? He dropped back, then managed the gap. He in fact kept going backwards and forwards sort of indicating he wasn’t trying that hard. Given that over 20 laps later, he was still setting fastest sectors (faster than Vettel and Hamilton who had both pitted also) It has to be said Bottas was just managing his tyres early on and did that really well. He did do better than Hamilton this race. The reason why Hamilton won’t have done the same strategy as Bottas will have been because he locked up and finished his first set of tyres. But not in qualifying.

  9. Bottas for me, he was just unlucky.

  10. Leclerc. With the worst car of the grid did a very good weekend.

  11. I want to vote for Max again for he never failed to deliver excitement of the sport, but finally went for Perez. Happy to see him at podium. Honorable mention to Leclerc and Vandoorne.

  12. I could’ve chosen Leclerc, Perez, Alonso, or even Stroll, but ultimately I decided to go with Sainz.

  13. Perez!!!!

  14. Voted for Perez. The guy that always underrated here but keep taking those podiums. As a bonus he also overtake Vettel on merit on Soft although helped a lot by Vettel destroying his own tire in one corner. But getting that podium place (and he did it several times already so it’s not blind luck anymore) is a glass ceiling that many drivers rated higher than him still hasn’t been able to do. Not to mention Force India is the weakest they have been in this era with fierce competition in midfield.

    Shout out to Leclerc, Sainz, Alonso, Vettel, and Bottas who also drove a good race

  15. I went with Perez who drove a race under the radar. He steadily made his way up and got into a very advantageous position in P5 which became a podium place. Good drive by Leclerc although I felt he was helped by the carnage causing quite a few retirements. Bottas drove brilliantly but didn’t seem on it in Qualy. Hamilton and Raikkonen stayed out of the way of the crazy action and were rewarded but were very lucky too. Good from Hartley to pick up a point. Alonso and Vandoorne capitalised and the decision by Vandoorne to switch to warm tyres was a masterstroke. I couldn’t see anyone having a mistake free race but Leclerc and Perez did well to stay away from all the action as did Raikkonen and Hamilton.

  16. Leclerc for sure. Only guy who really nailed qualifying. Race was a lottery where he just had to keep it clean, which he did.

  17. Don’t quite get how the finns are getting more votes than Seb.

  18. Bottas.

    Best performance over the entire weekend. Never far off Lewis (if not in front of him), kept his car under control, maintained and in fact increases his speed to close down Seb before the safety car and once again misses out n a win due to bad luck.

    When are people going to admit this guy can drive. But for bad luck would have banked 2 wins and be right up there in contention for the WDC

  19. Here’s my 5 cents:

    Hamilton was lucky to win – just like Vettel in Australia and Ricciardo in China;

    Bottas deserved to win, just like in China;

    Safety Car improves races, unlikely Virtual Safety Car that destroys them;

    Vettel gave it a try at the restart and failed, it’s OK.

    Verstappen was to blame in the Red Bull crash – he moved more that once and Ricciardo was already committed to the inside when Verstappen went back to the inside. To say both are to blame may be ‘political correct’ to Horner & Red Bull, but it’s no true.
    Daniel is getting done and over with Red Bull because unlike what they say about not having drive 1 and 2, it’s very apparent, after Verstappen contract renewal that he’s the top dog and Daniel is better the him at the track!

    Util Barcelona! ;)

    1. @win7golf If Hamilton and Vettel and Ricciardo were lucky to win because of Safety Cars, then Bottas does not deserve the win as he benefited from the safety car; he would have only been second behind vettel if the safety car did not come out

  20. I voted for Grosjean. Funny guy, makes me laugh.

  21. Nothing sticks with me more than Alonso dragging a two-wheeled McLaren around practically an entire lap of the Baku circuit, and eventually finishing 7th (albeit an inherited one) with what was likely quite substantial floor damage. He’s my DotW.

    1. Pink Peril
      1st May 2018, 5:16

      Agree, but I tend to expect that sort of super human performance of Alonso ;)
      I am not sure who to pick as DoTW. Many, many contenders from this race and some good justifications above. I’ll have to mull it over a bit more.

  22. Perez or Ricciardo… went with Perez!

    1. If those were your two contenders then Perez is an easy choice.

  23. One of the easiest driver of the weekend wins for Leclerc. Superlative performance throughout.

    Alonso, close second. He’s always there fighting no matter what happens.

    Perez third. Excellent race performance and just a loss in qualy by a few hundreds

    Also good: Sainz, Bottas, Vettel, Stroll, Hamilton

    Raikkonen(as a fan it infuriated me that he could’ve been on pole and won the race but threw it away)
    Verstappen: no comment
    Hulkenberg: something’s wrong with him in Baku despite having great pace, every time there he bins it. Huge contrast to the other races when he almost never does.
    Grosjean: absolutely shocking start to the season
    Hartley: despite the first point. His behavior in qualy was unacceptable

  24. My driver of the weekend was Leclerc, impressive in qualifying and he put in a great drive in the race to finish sixth and pick up his first points in F1.

    My second choice would be Alonso, after his car was badly damaged on the first lap he somehow managed to get it back to the pits, he wasn’t finished there and he drove a great race with the car in the condition it was in to finish seventh.

    Hamilton may have won the race but he lucked into it, and by his own admission Bottas was better in the race and deserved the victory, but I wouldn’t consider Bottas for driver of the weekend as he was out qualified by Hamilton on Saturday.

    Perez put in another good performance in the race and was rewarded with a podium but he was another who was out qualified by his teammate.

    Vettel took his third pole in a row and he looked to be on course for a comfortable win until the second safety car, in a reversal of Australia he lost the lead to a driver who had delayed his pit stop hoping for a safety car.

    With the pace of the Ferrari and the slipstreaming opportunities on the main straight he had a good chance to get past Bottas and retake the lead after the restart but he locked up into turn one, flat spotting his tyres and eventually finishing off the podium in fourth.

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