Start, Suzuka, 2019

Vote for your 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Which Formula One driver made the most of the Japanese 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 three days.

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

Driver performance summary

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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 2019 Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

  • Lewis Hamilton (4%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (42%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (5%)
  • Charles Leclerc (1%)
  • Max Verstappen (0%)
  • Alexander Albon (4%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (6%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (0%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (35%)
  • Lando Norris (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (1%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (0%)
  • Antonio Giovinazzi (0%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (0%)
  • Pierre Gasly (0%)
  • George Russell (0%)
  • Robert Kubica (0%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 219

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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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41 comments on “Vote for your 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend”

  1. Gave it to Bottas — good grid under odd-ball qualy, very good start, kept his nose clean, helped get the constructors’ championship. Sainz was obviously top of the rest of the pack. Ferrari again self-implode, Vettel’s start was about as dumb as they come, and of course the two youngest, least experienced future champions have to tangle. Oh well…

    1. “of course the two youngest, least experienced future champions had to tangle”.

      Hmpf. As if Max chose to be part of it. Tell me what he could have done differently in that situation?

      1. The statement asserts that they “tangled” it doesn’t assign blame. No need to be so sensitive.

      2. See, my problem is that while Verstappen is obviously the victim, and the FIA race director needs his head examined, Verstappen has been SUCH a goober in similar incidents in the past, that I can’t bring myself to have any sympathy for him.

        It was hard not to laugh about him saying “where was I supposed to go?”.

      3. :D Verstappen was guilty of previous incidents that’s it. Let’s call it karma.

        But more importantly it was Leclerc asserting himself, or simply making a small mistake. Though I fail to belive that, it seemed more like he was tryin to do whatever it takes to regain the position.

  2. Even though Hamilton had a realistic chance to challenge Bottas on the race day, if not for Mercedes pit wall decisions, Bottas had a better hang of the car the whole weekend. So Bottas it is.

  3. Sainz Sainz Sainz

    1. Sainz and Bottas really the two most stand out drivers. Vettel might have been up there, if he hadn’t botched the start and thrown a wrench into the teams great front row lockout.

      1. Yeah then he would have won probably. Atleast he didn’t mess up under pressure.

  4. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
    13th October 2019, 17:11

    Voted for Bottas. Looked fast throughout Practice and qualified ahead of Hamilton in a useful 3rd. Made such an incredible start and controlled the race from there. Not sure if he could have done much more really.

    Other strong weekends would have to go to Sainz and Albon. Vettel impressed me, but I thought he was very fortunate not to get a penalty for the start (which would have changed his race completely) – any idea why he didn’t get a penalty? We saw almost the exact same incident happen with Raikkonen in the last race and he was penalised. I was also surprised Leclerc was not given a harsher penalty for the clash with Verstappen – what is 5 secs when you take someone out of the race? I can understand the 10 sec penalty for driving in a dangerous condition, but had he conformed to the rules and pitted earlier that could have arguably cost him more than 10 secs overall.

  5. Bottas, Ricciardo and Sainz were the standouts for me. Giving this one to Bottas – outqualified Hamilton and got an epic start. Pace was strong and never looked troubled. His best weekend for a long time.

    1. @keithedin

      I was considering the same 3 drivers. Had to eliminate Ricciardo because he had a weak quail. Sainz was really strong all weekend, but he was alone for most of Sunday. Gave it to Bottas, for outqualifying Lewis at a track he’s always been strong at, and being in a league of his own on Sunday.

  6. Sainz, the guy has been the dark horse this weekend. I hope McLaren become a top team. He’d do well over a season. Other notable mentions include Ricciardo, Bottas and Gasly.

  7. Im biased but ricciardo went from 16th to 6th when his teammate finished 10th with a good race

    1. Strategy by runing in clean air most of the race… just look what happened when Ric got closer to Gasly-Stroll-Hulk train during the first part of the race.

    2. That’s easy to do when your car is automatically adjusting your brake bias for you based on lap position.

      ;)

      Wait– My bad, nothing has been proven. Yet.

  8. I voted for Sainz although it’s a difficult call between him and Bottas.

  9. Can’t look beyond Bottas for this one. Great lap on Saturday to take P3, very good start and drove a controlled, calm race.

  10. I think Sainz is looking great at the moment in terms of results and consistency. But the number of races he has had his team mate suffer bad luck is getting crazy now. And I personally think Sainz is having an incredibly easy time on track most of the time. That McLaren virtually the whole time quite easily looks to be the 4th best car. And I feel this is making him look better than he is. He is unchallenged most races. I honestly feel that if Verstappen was driving this car, it will likely be capable of more than Sainz is showing. I think verstappen would be able to challenge drivers at Red Bull if he was driving this.

    Looks like I’m being really harsh towards Sainz, but I think it is the cars ability that is making him look good this year. He hasn’t done that many outstanding racing moves really. And a year or two ago when he was in a team that was more often challenged, he was pretty prone to crashing and caused more retirements than any other driver one year. Not saying he would be like this now, but his races are pretty lonely out there. He’s having a rather easy job. But yes, you can’t fault him so far. I just think it is likely not that special for the cars ability.

    All this said, the driver i would go for this weekend would be Sainz himself, Bottas or Ricciardo.

    1. Great comment! While I actually voted for Sainz, I do agree with you, he’s in a car that is no slouch, definately better than all the rest of midfielders. And Norris is making Sainz look even better due to all the bad luck in the world he’s had in a single season.

      As for Danny Ric, I’m his biggest fan and though about voting him for DOTW because of a great race, but his qually was just bad.

    2. Ben, i am sure you have something personally with Sainz, I do not understand your comment. Saying MV will challenge the top with a car that is about one second per lap slower is joke, Sainz managed to keep Leclerc behind and finished a few seconds from Albon, is that not true? NO one single crash in the year, incredible recoveries like in Austria or the best overtake move of the year in Monaco to your friend DK. The main problem is that they do not show in tv and we need to what it after the race.
      He is pulling the hole team forward and Seidl is phasing constantly his job, but, up to you to continue your critics!

      1. Sainz managed to keep Leclerc behind?” Well Leclerc didn’t get closer than 5 seconds behind. Then he pitted. Sainz was not at any point challenged by Leclerc. Nor many others really this race – and many others this season. Has has had to fight back up the grid, but has had a car advantage over virtually everyone he got by.

        “Saying MV will challenge the top with a car that is about one second per lap slower is joke” I said “I think” Verstappen would be able to challenge Red Bull. Meaning often managing to be pretty close and sometimes beating them. Also taking into account that Verstappen would not be there – so take note that it is unlikely that the team would be as strong then. And i ceertainly think Verstappen is stronger than Sainz. I personally think that McLaren are closer to Red Bull than Sainz is showing. I don’t think 1 second is as big as the gap is in general.

        NO one single crash in the year Take note that i am not exactly blaming him for this, but his contact in Bahrain with verstappen was avoidable. Many drivers know what to expect from verstappen and Verstappen got no penalty for this sort of implying both drivers could have done better. Sainz could have seen that Verstappen was partly down the inside, so like many other drivers do when Verstappen does this sort of move, just allow a bit more space and he would not have retired. Verstappen often gets praised for this style of overtake when it has been down to the other driver allowing space. Sainz didn’t do this. He had no right to, but he let it ruin his race. I would count that as one avoidable crash this year.

        You really seemed to have twisted what i said and ignored that i admitted he has been very solid this year. But I still won’t say he’s been challenged that much. Looking at the timing screens most races, he’s most of the time been well behind the top 3 teams and quite a bit ahead of the rest. Good, but not exactly special.

    3. Ben, I see you feel like Sainz was lonely most of the time, but that feeling could be due to the lack of TV time Sainz is getting from the FOM. In Austria he went from P19 to P8 and the FOM released an awesome video (https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.watch-every-pass-from-carlos-sainzs-brilliant-drive-from-p19-to-p8.4OzUlKmWSscjXWbxKtKlII.html) with the action we couldn’t see on TV. On the other hand, he has been consistently gaining positions at the race start and maintained a good pace. Lando is an excellent driver, but Sainz has more than double the points Lando has… with the same car. Sainz is also P6 in the championship (76 points), far from Vettel, current P5 with 212 points, so I really doubt Verstappen could do it better than Sainz with the same car. The gap is still too much for MacLaren to challenge RedBull.

      1. It is fair to have a different view, but I think that Sainz just isn’t as quick as Verstappen. Especially in qualifying. I think that if they swapped places, Verstappen would very likely occasionally be able to outqualify albon or verstappen. That is my opinion, but that is how strong i think the McLaren is and is why i think Sainz’s races are not all that special. In no way are they bad. But I think verstappen could have got a fair few more points than Sainz this year

  11. Don’t think anyone really stood out.

    Not positively at least. Several drivers stood out a lot for driving very poorly though (like Leclerc and Kubica)

    People voting for Sainz, when he simply finished to the cars potential? Norris actually had Sainz him beat, but Leclerc shedding debris in his brake ducts ruined his brakes.

    1. @f1osaurus ‘Norris had Sainz beat’… despite having been slower all weekend and being several places behind in the race even before he had the brake issue?

      1. @tflb Wrong. He was right behind Sainz!

        1. @f1osaurus he’d just been overtaken by Albon before he pitted hadn’t he? Therefore not right behind. Plus he’d been dropping back. Regardless, given that Sainz was ahead in practice, ahead in qualifying, and ahead in the race, your statement was still innacurate.

          1. @tflb What on earth are you babbling about? Norris had brake issues well before he pitted.

            No my statement is that Sainz did nothing special and Norris only fell back because of his brake issues

          2. @f1osaurus I thought the brake issue happened on the same lap he pitted. Your statement was that Norris had him beaten, so that’s rubbish. Stop blabbering, and maybe watch the weekend again so you can see that Norris was always a couple of tenths down…

    2. Norris actually had Sainz him beat

      In the Fifa game they had on saturday, you mean?

  12. @f1osaurus When in the whole weekend or in the race did Norris beat Sainz? I didn’t see it….

  13. Gave it to the guy that never gets seen on TV, rarely battles with anyone, but always manages to finish best of the rest. Not sure how he does it, but that’s an interesting skill that Carlos has.

  14. Bottas drove a great race. Definitely had the advantage on Hamilton all weekend.

    Still doesn’t feel right knowing the team chose to take the win from Hamilton and give it to Bottas.

  15. Hamilton deserves it. Started back, team strategy not helpful, yet managed to fight for 2nd and finished 3rd. Race control was so worried, the “system” ended the race a lap early.

    1. hamilton started at the back of the top 4because of being outqualified by his team mate. That is part of the weekend. Bottas gained 2 places on the first lap. Hamilton gained nothing and lost a load of time. This was not the teams fault. There surely isn’t much of a reason to vote Hamilton for driver of the weekend this time?

  16. Vettel of course.

  17. Seb made a mistake at the start. But if you watch the race, it didn’t cost him the race win – Mercedes pace did.
    He had a great quali, with two laps good enough for pole, drove a very solid race within the possibilities of the car, and defended very well against Lewis. When Charlieboy does it (Monza), he is hailed a hero – no one feels the need to mention it when Seb does it (in my opinion the conditions: track and tire strategy; were even more difficult).
    That is the reason why, in a race where no one really did a super duper job, I give Seb the vote.

    1. Vettel sets a pole once in 5 or 6 races. That’s why people aren’t impressed when Leclerc is getting all the other pole positions.

      Vettel messes up his start necessitateing the stwaerds to come up with yet another FIArari ruling to not takes his race away from him.

      Especially since the 2 penalty points related to that crime would put him on track for a race ban even more.

  18. @tflb Nonsense again. My point was that Sainz did nothing special and that is true. With Verstappen, Norris and Leclerc himself taken out by Leclerc’s blunder in turn 2 and given the car, Sainz should as a minimum finish in 5th.

    You have bleated more nonsense in your ridiculous replies than I could ever post.

    Seriously, if you want to “correct” someone, don’t spout so much nonsense.

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