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Chinese Grand Prix – Who was the driver of the day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2011   |  5:42 pm GMT  |  160 comments

There was plenty of action all the way down the field until the final lap of the race, so it’s a tough call for driver of the day. Who’s yours?


Lewis Hamilton – Qualified third and made a good start to jump slow-starting pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel into the first corner for second. Drove an aggressive race, pulling off a bold move on team-mate Jenson Button before passing Vettel for the lead. His 15th career victory and first since last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.


Mark Webber – The Australian had another tough weekend, crashing out of Q1 for the first time since Bahrain 2009 to start the race in 18th. But for the second race in a row, he drove like a man possessed, fighting his way back through the field to finish an incredible third, just 7.6 seconds behind race winner Hamilton.

Nico Rosberg – Qualified fourth, finished fifth. The Mercedes showed improved pace this weekend with Rosberg taking the lead after the first round of stops. Made a three-stop strategy work, but was forced to save fuel in the final stint which saw him lose positions to Hamilton, Webber and Button. His best finish of the season.


Felipe Massa – Beat his team-mate for the second race in a row after matching him for pace all weekend. Showed good pace throughout the race, but a two-stop strategy left him vulnerable in the final stint and he dropped from second to sixth. Nevertheless a strong showing.

Michael Schumacher – Started 14th after suffering a DRS problem in qualifying but a good start catapulted him up to 10th on the first lap. Showed flashes of his old self as he rigorously defended and attacked all race long. Just ran out of time in the pursuit of Fernando Alonso and finished eighth.

Heikki Kovalainen – Another accomplished drive from the Finn who was comfortably the fastest of the new teams. More encouragingly for Team Lotus, Kovalainen beat the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez’s Sauber (albeit the Mexican picked up a drive-through) on his way to 16th.

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  1. VV says:

    Difficult one. Hamilton was brilliant (but he usually is, especially when the car is performing to his liking). But Webber wins it for me, as it looked like he was nowhere for a decent portion of the race, and then he started taking huge chunks out of the other drivers’ leads. It was a shame the race wasn’t a bit longer, as he might have won!

    1. F1 Fanatic reported he went down to 20th on lap 11.

      I think he was about 50 seconds from the lead at some point in the race. Credit shou;ld go to his team though. Webber was the only one starting on the Prime.

      Great drives from all of the listed drivers above. A very very enjoyable race.

    2. Philip T says:

      “a shame the race wasn’t longer” and I agree but it wasn’t that long ago that Flavio was putting forward a plan to make it shorter. Good job nobody listened!

  2. theviewingfoot says:

    I voted for Weber, i thought his drive the most impressive. Coming back from 18th and a bad set of tyres in his first stint was amazing.

  3. For Sure says:

    If you are talking about driver of the day, it has to be Mark Weber, no doubt. But the driver of the weekend obviously goes to Lewis.
    Its nice to see Michael made it to the list. I think this is the very first time since his comeback.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Last season he (Schummie)appeared at least once on the list. I can’t remember what race it was, but I’m pretty sure he made it. I remember my thoughts were “MSC being in the Driver of the Day list without even scoring a podium…”

      1. Jomy John says:

        spanish gp.. he overtook button for 4th place

      2. Rekha says:

        I was torn between Webber and Schumacher but voted for Webber.

  4. charade says:

    Hamilton and Webber only looked good because they had a tyre advantage. They didn’t perform special at all, but the tyres made it look like it.

    This race is being so overhyped everywhere, unbelievable.

    They should change the name of the sport from F1 to Tyres1.

    I mean if a guy from the back of the grid with the fastest car can end up 3rd because he has 3 fresh set of option tyres the top 17 didn’t have, you know there is something wrong and it is artificial as it gets.

    Heck, why even qualify anymway? Just make sure you only use the hard tyres during quali, see how you go and never use the options.

    Then win the race with 3 new set of option tyres.

    Doesn’t anyone else see this manufactured ‘racing’ thing? The only thing Mark proved is that F1 has become artificial and if you can find the loophole (which he did through bad luck) you will unmask it.

    1. Stevie P says:

      I can see the manufactured thing a bit, but I can also see a race that’s interesting from start to finish – I love it!

      I think we’ll see a lot more single-lap quali laps, thus leaving them more new sets of tyres for the race.

    2. James Draper says:

      I don’t think it is that obvious that qualifying in 18th with 3 sets of fresh softs is better than being on pole with only 2. Vettel would have won on a three stopper. Everyone chose their strategies on Friday and their tyre choices in qualifying reflected their decisions.

      Kimi came back from 17th or 18th in 2005 to win its not unheard of that this happens.

    3. Anil says:

      lol, you’ve completely missed the point.

      Mark finished that high up because he was on a completely different strategy than everyone and was on the soft tyre and not the hard one at the end. Didn’t you have watch races in the older days, scenarios like this happened a fair few times (Mansell on Piquet at Silerstone was a great example).

      The race would only be ‘artificial’ if they all ran on the same strategy and webber still made it up to 4th from 17th, which obviously isn’t the case. When you’ve got half the field 2 stopping and the rest 3, it makes sense to get results like today. I think you’ve been spoilt by processions slightly? last year was horrible for on track action for precisely the opposite reason that todays race was so good, being that everyone followed identical 1 stop strategies with little room for variation.

      Also, your comment about how you might as well just not qualify and save tyres is also flawed; other teams 3 stopped and didn’t get the same result (Schumacher for example). Webber did it because his car is a bullet and like the old saying ‘the cream always rises to the top’. The drivers on the right strategy did well today, the others not so good. Simple as.

      1. Tim says:

        Exactly!! Some people ust want to complain no matter what. And let’s be clear – if there’s a choice to be made between qualifying being interesting and the race dull as sh*t vs. qualifying being relatively un-meaningful but the race exciting and the podium positions not decided until the penultimate lap, I know which camp I and just about every other fan is in.

        You seriously want to stay with processional racing where no-one can overtake??

      2. Phil Bishop says:

        +1

      3. Stefanos says:

        I can see charade’s point about the tyre allocation, though. Perhaps it is not necessary, or can simply add a set to the weekend’s allocation. You also forgot to add that other drivers also saved tyres for the race (e.g. Hamilton).

        I still see the DRS as potentially unnecessary and the KERS as absolutely unnecessary. Did you see how little difference it made to Weber (no KERS) catching up Button (with KERS) at the end? Virtually none. Did it increase the “green” credentials of F1? I think not.

      4. Jean-Christophe says:

        Kers is useless if you lack traction. Webber had much more grip because of fresh soft tyres against worn hard tyres. At that point he was 3 seconds a lap faster which is huge.

    4. Trent says:

      Well, let’s say everyone learns that lesson and saves the soft tyres next time. Not everyone can win, can they!

      The point is it’s a moving game, strategy is based on guessing and second-guessing what others are doing.

    5. Amber says:

      Are you serious? How long have you been watching Formula 1? In my 25+ years, I’ve seen many back-of-the-field to top 5 finishes.

      The RBR is still the best/fastest car out there. With no KERS they’re still damned swift. And Weber, unlike SB, can handle wheel-to-wheel competition. I vote for Hamilton simply because of speed advantage of the RBR and the flexibility Mark had going into the race.

      Hopefully, this race, will finally end all this “Jenson is the tire-master” and “Hamilton burns the rubber” nonsense. Its amazing how many analysts still stick to that narrative. Regardless of the evidence… folks love that story.

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        It would appear that Hamilton has learnt a new skill. Until this season tyre management was not vital. Hamilton’s ‘head down and charge’ way of driving was, in most cases, the best tactic. Now though things are much different.

        I can see tactics developing over the season to a greater extent than the cars. We will, I believe, see some cars in Q3 not even bothering to go out as they would only get 8th or so. Then the top teams will go for one run only. Back to the exciting days where one mistake could cost you three slots.

        Q2 might well turn out to be a frantic period and some of the fancied drivers will not make it.

        I look forward to more examples of top flight drivers making their way through the field.

        Much as I enjoyed Webber’s race, or at least the second half, I think the DotD goes to Lewis for his exciting overtakes at the end of the race. We were building up to them steadily and when they did arrive I had to stand up.

        Thrilling.

    6. Alex W says:

      Maybe they will start qualifying on hards, will make for more unreal races! how is that a bad thing? Artificial? Anyone could have opted to take Webbers strategy if they chose.

      1. Stefanos says:

        If they all do it, then the advantage will be negated. Like all past years, when the optimal strategy is found, they will all switch to it and the fastest car/driver will win every time.

    7. Simon says:

      I understand Charade’s point of tyres is maybe too much importance of the pace of an F1 car, but I take a different point of view that this is “manufactured racing”, if looked at from a completely different standpoint, F1 itself is a manufactured thing, everything is manufactured, the engine, the front and rear wings, the bodywork and everything. A few years ago it was the double diffuser that was the difference between Brawn and the rest of the field, now tyres is the differences. Because the cars from the tops teams are so close in terms of performance, any advantage would be made to looked to be a great advantage, I can’t see someone from the lower teams starting from 18th and finishing 3rd, and at the end, everyone is given the same number of set of tyres, same rules for everyone.

      But all in all, this is a personal preference. I would rather see this type of races than everyone finishing the race in order of what they qualify with no overtaking, and wouldn’t mind if everyone try to qualify 18th and overtake people to try to win a GP!

      1. James Allen says:

        Very good points, thanks for that

      2. kashif says:

        James,
        Christian say’s that they went for a two-stopper because they had falleen behind the mclarens at the start and thus had to do something different, else they would have just followed Lewis and Jenson in 3rd place.

        So, can we assume that Red Bulls’ preferred strategy would have been a 3-stopper ? And if that is the case then why did’nt they let vettel revert back to 3 stops after he had jumped lewis in the first stint and ‘jumped’ button at the first stop? Surely, they were then not committed to a 2-stop that early, coz vettel went out on softs and there were no fuel considerations to take into account (no refuelling). Or maybe they kept to the 2-stop because Rosberg had jumped them?
        So they intialised 2-stopper to jump the mclarens but got blind-sided by mercedes and continued with it to jump rosberg not realising that the 3-stopper was all along the most efficient ?

      3. Simon says:

        Thank you James for having this great site, it’s very nice to have a fresh points of view on F1 instead of reading the same article site after site.

    8. Gareth Foches says:

      If Hamilton and Webber only looked good because they had a tire advantage, then so can every other team. Webber did it from 18th, but why didn’t those from 19th to 24th do it? They had the tires too. So the answer then is that Webber has a faster car, good aerodynamics. As such, by your logic, shouldn’t F1 be called Aero 1?

      1. 4thtryFirst says:

        The other guys from 19th downwards all used soft tyres in Q1.

        The point is that it wasn’t eh saving softs that did it for Webber, it was the drive he did.

        It was his pace on the tyres that did it.

        And personally, giving everyone the same tyres with the same rules and everyone has the whole race to do what they want with their tyres which are the same as everyone else IS ALOT LESS manafactured than the following driver on a straight can change the drag of the car while if within 1 second at a certain point but the car in front can’t.

        I’m sure tyres aren’t all designed to last forever, these tyres are called racing tyres and they are designed to allow racing.

        That isn’t manafactured.

    9. Jack R says:

      I also think it’s relevant to point out that Button was on the same strategy, and tyres, as Hamilton. Even so Hamilton made up ~10-15seconds on him in his final stint, despite all the overtakes he was pulling off, so it wasn’t just the tyres.

    10. Aey says:

      RBR now have much speed advantage over at least 1 second a lap that said new fresh tyre is important so the Q position is not so important, I don’t think so.

      if the car at the back develop to close to the performance of RBR such as with 0.2-0.3, will Vettel no try hard in Q3 to save tyre and being P7 – 8 then let Alonso or Lewis on P1 P2, and hope the new tyre can make them beat Lewis or Alonso, no way.

      You don’t care much for the Position versus have the fresh tyre, you can do this only when your car have much more speed advantage. if the top car are match, the Q position still be the important factor.

      even this time in China, Lewis have 1 set of fresh tyre, If Vettel use 3 stop and didn’t lost the posiiton at the start, I don’t think Lewis will win just because he have 1 set of fresh tyre advantage.

      Q Position still important if pace of the car are closer, just one set of fresh tyre can’t make you win.

  5. billfenner1967 says:

    Webber and Hamilton both had storming races, but I’d have to shade it to Webber given the fact that he started so far back and was still way behind after 10 or so laps. If the race had been another two laps longer he wouldn’t caught (and passed, maybe?) Vettel and possibly even Hamilton.

    If Webber can get his qualifying sorted he’ll be racing Vettel wheel to wheel again.

    1. Pram says:

      And we have Istanbul next in line for that ;)

      1. The other Ian says:

        I think the chances of a repeat of last year, are looking good! Webber needs to start scoring more points that Vettel. Istanbul is a good place to start. The question is how aggressive will Vettel be in defending his highly probable leading position. I base that on the fact that so far he has been in front of Webber in qualifying for quite a while.
        A repeat of last years result will suit me just fine.

  6. MiG2009 says:

    This was one of the best races I’ve seen. Amazing drive from Hamilton, Webber showed his true grit, I hope this race is a new chapter of high octane racing and overtaking, most of the cars were very competitive. In the interest of the sport Vettel had to be silenced or at least prevented from that finger gesture he was getting accustomed to. I love this sport!!! Hopefully Webber is no longer KERS-ed, lol.

  7. Terry James says:

    James, just to say it was Lewis’s 15th victory, and a truly outstanding performance, i’m sure we will all agree.

    I think it is important to emphasise that these tyres do not naturally suit is full on agressive style, and he has demonstrated the intelligence and skill to adapt his style. As you said last week James, the cream always rise to the top in motor racing.

  8. Steve Arnott says:

    Today: close call between Hamilton and Webber. On another day the cynical call would be ‘whoever is on the right tyres at the right time’.

    This isn’t to take anything away from the skill of the drivers or team strategy, but in my opinion the tyres are an overwhelmingly large factor on the outcome of a race this season.

    Maybe the teams will wise up and the effects will cease to be quite so extreme. But right now it’s a bit like Wacky Races. Brilliant fun, though, so who am I to complain?

  9. Well what can I say, the Chinese Grand Prix certainly did not disappoint, it certainly had everything from start to finish, from fuel leaks before the race to driving through another Team’s pit box, absolutely fantastic.

    When you consider that Hamilton nearly didn’t make the start of the race due to a fuel leak, through sheer effort the McLaren Team managed to get his car ship-shape again with just seconds to spare before the start of the race, who would have thought what was to come during the race in Shanghai.

    Not forgetting the efforts of Mark Webber. After a poor qualifying session, finishing in 18th, the tremendous effort during the latter stages of the race lifted him impressively into 3rd place, seeing him reach another podium place. You cannot take anything away from his performance, another example of Aussie true-grit, well done Mark.

    Focusing on some of the other drivers, Nico Rosberg had another good race finishing in 5th place picking up a valuable 10 points, had had a very good run until he had to surrender position to Lewis Hamilton when the Mercedes driver was told by his team to look after his fuel, well done Nico.

    Paul Di Resta also had a great race for Force India, finishing in a not too shabby 11th place but just missing out on the points, still, he was happy with the overall result.

    Disappointing however, were the Ferrari Team, Alonso finishing behind Massa in 7th place, maybe some further discussions required by the Ferrari bosses back in Italy over the total lack of pace from the prancing horses.

    So Shanghai doesn’t disappoint, well for some yes, but others no. Hamilton & Martin Whitmarsh for McLaren will certainly enjoy watching most of the race back, might have to give the pre-race mad dash to fix the fuel leak a miss and the pass by Hamilton on Button but both return to Europe I’m sure with smiles gleaming.

    Welcome back ‘edge of the seat’ entertaining, truly enthralling viewing, bring on Europe!

  10. Galapago555 says:

    To be honest, it’s very difficult to decide between Lewis and Mark.

    Lewis produced a superb race. Flawless from lights to flag. Actually he started to outperform his opposition yesterday, when he decided not to use that last set of softs. On the race he’s been simply perfect, knowing when to attack and when to keep calm. An almost perfect race IMO. Kudos to him.

    Mark… well, he started from P17 and finished 7 secs behind the race leader. Not bad for a number 2 driver. Kudos to him as well.

    So if it’s possible to give an “ex aequo” vote, mine is for both Mark adn Lewis.

    1. **Paul** says:

      Lewis drove well, but when considering driver of the day it’s an easy choice IMO.

      Firstly I consider the starting positions, then I take into account Webbers lack of fully functional KERS, and then I take into account his strategy which was probably the best on the grid.

      In contrast, Lewis had possibly the best KERS system out there (which is helpful with the long straight), certainly a very quick car, started right up at the sharp end and also had a strategy that was substaincially faster than Vettel and both Ferrari’s. From that perspective I would expect him to beat the Mercedes cars and probably Button too.

      RBR took a gamble with Seb’s strategy and it backfired, I think on the same Strategy as Lewis he could have won that race, but 2nd is still a great result for him. Likewise Massa was on for 2nd place had his strategy mirrored that of McLaren/Mercedes teams. So when I take all of that into consideration I do honestly believe Webber to be (by some margin) Driver of the day.

      1. **Paul** says:

        Just to add it was an awesome race, one of the best I’ve seen for a while. I think not knowing who’d win until 5 laps from the end was what really made it.

      2. **Paul** says:

        One more point to add, with tyres proving crucial will we see drivers revert to one run in Q2 and Q3? Vettel has proven he can do that (China last year), and saving new rubber for the race (even it only gives you and extra 3 laps of life) could prove to be very tempting !

      3. Jean-Christophe says:

        Fair point Paul. But I’d still pick Hamilton. Not because RB7 is a faster car but because the speed difference at the time Webber passed those cars was huge. He was lapping more than 3s a lap quicker whereas Lewis had to use much more driving skills. Watch that move on Button at turn one. Button was so surprised that the car wobbled. You need guts to make such a move.
        You should have a look at this video from Martin Brundle to get my point.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWc4milsJP4&feature=related

      4. Jean-Christophe says:

        Why the lack of Kers doesn’t count? Kers is part of the car. As is the diffuser, the front wing, the gear box etc. RB can’t get their kers to work and McLaren can’t get their diffuser to work as efficiently as the RB. It’s a whole package. It’s like saying that RB won last year because of the blown diffuser or McLaren won some races because of the F-duct. All that requires engineering skills. Back in 2009, neither RB, nor Brawn had kers. But they still managed to win most races and overtake kers cars.
        Besides, Hamilton passing Button, which was key to his charge to victory, wasn’t tyre related. It was a brilliant move. He was in the same strategy as button. But while Hamilton managed to overtake all cars in front, Button couldn’t quite do the same. What amazes me is how many times he caught them off guard; passing them (as Vettel admitted) at areas where they wouldn’t expect him to make a move.

      5. **Paul** says:

        What I’m saying Jean-Christophe is that Webbers lack of KERS should be a consideration given that it’s a major aspect to the aiding of a successful overtake in modern F1. I’m sure you’d take into account that the Red Bull is a faster car than the McLaren when awarding driver of the day? Yes? So should one not also take into account the fact that Webber had to overtake lord knows how many cars without KERS? I would say yes to both.

    2. RickeeBoy says:

      Whilst I agree with all you say, my preference is for Lewis. I would love to give it to Mark but the way I see it is – Lewis overtook multiple times the Guys at the front end and getting past the front end is a darn sight more difficult without ruining your tyres. Mark overtook a load from the back end. Both had brilliant races ( so nice to see Mark with a smile ). Lewis’s post race analysis of taking Seb was sweeet !

      Enjoyed it.

  11. Toby says:

    Webber. Definitely. Kimi Raikkonen benifited from two safety cars at Suzuka in 2005. Webber had none and managed to claw his way up to the podium. Outstanding performance.

    1. Alex W says:

      And virtually no attrition in China.

  12. James Bond says:

    Is it just me or Ferrari really messed up Massa’s race. He was in front of McLarens before 2′ stops and easily could have gone on same 3 stopper.
    Happy to see Massa doing great drive…

    1. irish con says:

      was thinking that myself when i was watching the repeat. should have pitted the lap after hamilton did when they were racing each other in the 2nd stint. the ferraris seem to keep the soft tyres better than mclarens in first stint so should have used that better today. i mean massa nailed hamilton in the in lap before his first stop after being 4 seconds behind 2 laps earlier

    2. jmv says:

      yes and if then the 3 stopper didnt work out you would have said that ferrari destroyed felipe’s race.

      he did great today, nice to see him fighting close to his old form. turkey is next.. a track he likes!

    3. Tom says:

      Thats the same for every driver who did two stops though. Vettel would have won it no problem if he had done the same. Alonso would have been challenging Rosberg at the very least.

      Webber’s quali and Vettel’s strategy made Mclaren seem competitive today, I still think they are a long way off. Webber’s great result was a mixture of great driving, great strategy and a great car. Hamilton had the same except only a good car but better quali.

  13. mtb says:

    Webber, with an honourable mention for Hamilton.

  14. Jolene says:

    Mark drove like a demon today and certainly deserve to be Driver of the day but alas,Lewis is getting my vote. He did not let the early dramas with the car rattle him. He made crucial passes when it mattered and drove one of the best races of his career today, IMO of course.

    Thanks for a great blog James.

  15. opsin says:

    Lewis drove a phenomenal race, but for Webber to wind up some 7 seconds behind him at the end, and on the podium… has to go to Webber for me.

  16. KenC says:

    I know alot of people will vote for Webber, just looking at where he started and where he ended, but seriously, he didn’t have to pass Vettel or Hamilton. Plus, he was in a RedBull! There’s a nice long straight to make passes. And, he had three sets of fresh soft tires.

    If you actually look at laptimes, he was only faster than the leaders in the last stint, when he was on his last set of fresh softs, when the leaders were on scuffed hards.

    Nice race by Webber to recover from an error in qualifying by the team, but it is nothing that I wouldn’t have expected from Vettel or Hamilton. If you’re lapping 3 secs a lap faster than the cars around you, of course passing is as easy as it gets in F1.

    1. PeteM says:

      Imagine the hysteria if Vettel had the issues Mark did! Bit hard to pass Vettal and Hamilton you say. Well would Hamilton or Vettel finish where they were if they didnt have kers like Mark?
      I think Marks doing great with a constantly underporforming car. Marks strategy was better than most and with a car with half the amount of go-fast bits that Hamilton and Vettel had shows just how good his drive was. I think this race is just what Mark needed to get his confidence back and if they can get his car equal to that of Vettels he will again be a top 3 contender.
      Mark best drive of the day, Hamilton not too far behind.

      1. OldIron says:

        Vettel was without kers for a fair while too; in any case, a red bull without kers is still quicker by a healthy margin than the best of the rest. If Mark does fancy a go with a (genuinely) constantly underperforming car, theres always HRT.

        If Mark had been even a little quicker in his first stint, I’d have expected him to be able to breeze past both Ham and Vettel by virtue of tyres: a tyre advantage is worth far more than kers.

  17. Aerodiffuser says:

    Has to be Mark Webber though Hamilton drove a scintillating race also

  18. kowalsky says:

    i voted for lewis hamilton, but even if i consider him the best driver at the moment, i think it will be very hard for other than vettel-redbull to win this year’s championship. I hope lewis can give him a run for his money. He is the only one that can.

  19. RichardB says:

    Webber just gets driver of the day and to make him quicker I’ve found a replacement for his KERS – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXRH50fvHWA

  20. J says:

    Webber was (again) the driver of the day. Did a lot with less. Its a shame that Red Bull Team is not offering the same support for his drivers, but also because of that this 3rd position taste better. Also i have to say that Webber is not my favorite driver, (although not far from been), he has gained more of my support since the unfair play of his team, not every driver can carry with that and still show a good pace.

  21. Stevie P says:

    I’ve gone for Lewis – but only just – from Webber. Stunning GP. Still laughing about Button – that pit-stop gaffe prevented him from making the podium (imho).

    Buemi (?) did it Abu Dhabi, didn’t he? I can understand a Torro Rosso driver mistaking his engineer for a Red Bull one (apart from their relative location along the pit-lane), but confusing white overalls with blue ones!?!

  22. Janis1207 says:

    In my book it’s Webber today.
    Many would have lost motivation after seeing P17 after 15 laps and no KERS, but not him. Excellent drive.
    Great drive by Lewis, as well. Made these crucial passes when he had to.
    Finally, Schumi should be mentioned, as well. Coming from P14 to P8 is sure respectable. Two more laps, and he would have gotten Alonso, too.
    As for Rosberg, he spoiled the otherwise very good impression with a couple of costly mistakes. Letting 2 cars through in one corner is not exactly good.

  23. Jay Billing says:

    I think today showed just how important fresh soft tyres are in terms of pace and durability. Just a hot lap or two on fumes in quali is enough to take the edge away. We saw how Lewis struggled in Malaysia on used softs and how he could carve his way through the field on fresh tyres today, as could Webber. I believe this was key to both Lewis’ and Mark’s fantastic drives.

  24. AuraF1 says:

    Amazing race. Great fun from front to back of the grid. To all the crushing bores now moaning about tyres and strategy ruining pure racing – seriously just go watch karting. F1 as a category depends on a whole range of interlocking skills, teamwork, strategy, in race tactics and technical innovations. I saw all that today in spades. And just before anyone complains about DRS watch the race and count the critical overtakes that occurred away from the DRS zone. There were plenty. The real racers used any place they could including some that were far from ideal. A joy to watch.

    Those UNDERhyping this race do it a disservice and don’t appear to understand F1.

    This is one of the few races so exciting you even saw some drivers walk away smiling despite losing out. They know it was a great spectacle today.

    1. Trent says:

      Yes I agree – after watching dozens of races over the years without a SINGLE top-6 overtaking maneuver (outside the pits), give me this formula any day.

      I’m starting to think even the Spanish and Hungarian GPs could be worth watching this year!!

  25. Pally says:

    Hamilton, because he stopped the RBR dominance when everyone else failed.

    Webber is in an RBR that is frankly on another planet so a good drive but not unexpected.

  26. Tom says:

    James, who was you driver of the day?

    Sitting on the fence between Webber and Hamilton isn’t an option!

  27. Marlon says:

    Lewis undoubtedly… Today he proved to me he was the best driver in F1 (including Alonso who I rate highly).

    Webber was good but that redbull is a bullet. I wonder if more drivers outside the top ten will start with primes and end with options from now?

    1. Irish con says:

      Doesn’t take much convincing for u does it. Hamilton while I agree is a massive talent he also has massive flaws as Malaysia totally confirmed.

  28. Olivier says:

    What an inspired race it was. Thank you Pirelli! Here’s my top 4:

    1. Amazing how Lewis managed to keep his cool before the race even started. Truly inspirational.

    2. Webber’s grit. It is becoming legendary, isn’t it?!

    3. I really enjoyed the Alonso – Schumacher battle! Great to see the master up there. I was gutted to see Michael qualifying “only” 14. But Michael kept his cool and had some fun along the way. Insane. And again, very inspirational.

    4. So happy for Massa as well :)

    1. Alberto Dietz says:

      Exactly.

  29. tank says:

    Voted Webber, good to see Schu on the board. At least qualifying position is not as important this year: tyre use on Saturday/Sunday will be an interesting dynamic.

    Do you think Vettel would have changed to a three-stopper if his radio was working?

  30. F1Fan says:

    While both Webber and Hamilton are deserving of the DOY I think the edge goes to Hamilton. With the pre-race drama in the pits trying to get his car to start it surely must have been a bit distracting waiting fo/r the lights to go out and wondering if the car would be ok. And still, he was focused enough to get a good start off the line.

    I also think that while Hamilton had an advantage in having an extra set of options (as did Webber) that didn’t relieve him of the need to still look after his tires during the race. His strategy would have meant nothing if he abused his tires and had to pit more often or out of order as was the case in Malaysia.

    Hamilton’s passes were also arguably cleaner that Webber’s. On more than one occasion we saw Webber having to lock up in order to fight for a pass. Hamilton’s overtaking, outside of the DRS zone, was strategic, picking the optimum spots to overtake, while still managing to look after his tires in the process. For example, his last pass on Vettel was a case of cunning more than simply being aggressive.

    Also, with the team telling him to go easy on the tires and wait for the leaders to come to him, Hamilton assumed control of HIS race and wisely disregarded the advice from the pit wall. Instead he set about being what he naturally is – a supremely gifted racer.

    I think Webber achieved a whole from coming from as far back as he did, but Hamilton’s drive was of a higher quality in terms of a combination of applied strategy and race craft. He was controlled where he needed to be and aggressive where it was called for. This was simply one of those drives where, notwithstanding all the passing aids, we saw a racer produce a sublime race making use of everything at his disposal – talent, bravado, cunning.

    Absolutely a fantastic, text-book drive.

    1. Ender says:

      You should remember, Webber was KERS-less, therefore some less ‘clean’ passing was definitely in the cards, as anyone with a working KERS essentially had ‘press here to defend’.

      1. F1Fan says:

        I don’t the addition or absence of KERS determines how well a pass is executed. If that were the case, that would mean prior to KERS passes would have been generally ragged. KERS facilitates passing, but the quality of the pass is a different matter altogether.

        Again, I am not taking away from Webber’s brilliant performance, particularly since he really had to do well this race to reclaim lost ground to Vettel. And certainly at times in the past we’ve seen some less than ideal passes executed by Hamilton as well. But during the Chinese GP Hamilton was simply on top of his game and not only was he flawless in the passing attempts, he made them all stick.

    2. Vinola says:

      Well said F1Fan. Hamilton gets my vote (plus he WON a grand prix race, that counts for something).
      Webber was awesome.
      I’m happy for Massa; he’s been quicker in the last 2 races than Alonso, but only got the results this time around.

  31. Mark V says:

    I can’t believe how many people think Hamilton had a better drive by finishing only 7 seconds ahead of Webber who started the race in another time zone. Yeah yeah, Webber had “a faster car, more/better tires, blah blah”. Mere rationalizations. How easy it is for everyone to forget Webber didn’t even have KERS for the whole race.

    Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go put on my fireproof suit. :P

  32. Rich C says:

    Webber’s sheer, blinding speed in that last stint should be worrying all the other teams.

    It ought to be a warning what they can expect when the Newey-mobile gets everything working in sync!

    1. jay harte says:

      agree with you mate
      webbers/red bull pace during this race
      told me everything i needed to know about
      the season ahead ,red bull are not quick they are blindingly quick .
      mclaren were lucky this race wasnt 65 laps today because webber would have caught vettel and hamilton if it had been ,
      webber is due a victory and soon

  33. Nathan says:

    Just a reminder that Mark didnt have KERS so he had to work harder than most in that race (and qualifying). He obviously got the setup right as he was fast on the option tyre throughout the stints. Full credit to Lewis but Mark was the drive of the day. Lucky for the rest.he didnt start higher up the grid, or the race not going another 2-3 laps!

  34. Darren says:

    Webber got my vote, from the back to a podium is seriously impressive.

    Vettel’s strategy and Webbers qualifying problems masked how dominant the Red Bulls would have been in the race. If Vettel had been on a 3 stop and Webber had been in the top 4 in qualifying they could have won the race by 30 seconds plus quite easily.

    Good save by McLaren, managing to pull off a great win, but after watching Webber’s pace they must still be concerned.

  35. markus says:

    Webber without doubt. Just wonder how Vettel would have faired coming from 18th – just don’t think he is that “type” of racer – not in the Senna, Mansell, Schumacher mold – not a racers racer. Vettel would have sooked and no doubt given up with a “mechanical failure” – uust too much effort when you don’t have pole.

    Hamiltion, a great racer and always a nice tribute to his hero Senna. Schumacher, good scrappy race. Nice to see the two old warhorses fighting it out, even if it was for 7 and 8th.

    Rosberg, personal fav of mine, great qual but he just not much of a racer and it depresses me- i want him to be amazing but he is never sensational, just a good pilot – will never be a WDC, such a shame. He’s a bit of a Button in my opinion. A bit bland, a bit boring the race. I mean Prost was dull but made up for it with intelligence and psychology. If Schumcaher can find those 3 10ths then Nico better up his game. Cmon Nico, learn how to race, to be dynamic, to startle, Please.

    1. Ben says:

      Vettel wouldn’t mess up qualifying and end up in 18th. Criticizing someone for being fast enough to constantly get pole when his teammate ends up behind slower cars all the time seems fair to me.

  36. leslexx says:

    Button o Button

  37. Andrew Myers says:

    Webber for me. Hamilton certainly brilliant also. I agree with the posters who say that strategy brought Vettel undone – the bulls are still the ones they need to catch all things being equal.

    Massa really showing some form though. Alonso seems to be overshadowed by him the past 2 weekends. I’m liking that :)

  38. Steve W says:

    Webber’s drive was absolutely sensational, but I still have to give driver of the day to Hamilton. Considering the drama of a flooded engine before the start, he kept his cool, and managed the tyres to perfection to enable him to attack Vettel in the closing laps. His move on Button was an absolute classic, almost reminiscent of Senna in the way he put Button in a position where he could either turn into the corner or have a crash. That was the key move in my opinion in him winning the race, and he cleared Massa and Rosberg swiftly so that he could get a run at Vettle for the win.

  39. Keith says:

    Of course it has to be Webber, but what is going on with Red Bull and KERS…. and for that matter what *has* been going on with Webber’s car this year, I mean how can one car be so much more reliable than the other????

    I also like Webber’s comment at the post driver interviews:
    “It’s a shame McLaren won in a way, but we can’t let Seb get too far away, so it’s a good day for the racing I think, and a good day for us in terms of points for the team.”

  40. mael says:

    Drive of the day for Webber.

    Drive of the weekend, must go to Hamilton.

    Webber only had the tyres because he was out in Q1, but Hamilton made the conscious choice to leave a fresh set for the race.

    A great race and one that kept interest up till the very end, unlike previous years where the die was cast after 1 pit stop.

  41. Alex of Sydney says:

    Simple case of wrong strategy on the day by Vettel and the 2 ferrari’s. If they 3 stopped the race order would be completely different, and Hamilton and Webber would not even be mentioned.
    Race order with 3 stop strategy
    1)Vettel
    2)Massa (he was infront of both Mclarens
    3)Alonso/Rosberg (too close to call, and Alonso would have pitted instead of being stuck behind Schumi)
    5)/6) Hamilton and Button.
    7)Webber
    It would be a completely different race, Mclarens wouldn’t even be mentioned. Top drive by Massa to get infront of both Mclarens starting p6, showed awesome pace to get passed Hamilton on same levels of grip at that stage. Hamilton and Webber only came to life in last 10 laps due to bad strategy from competitors.

    Looking forward to next race

    1. Michael says:

      To make a 3 stopper work you need to save tyres somewhere down the road. Vettel didn’t have a spare set, he had to run a 2 stopper. He simply had no other choice. As for Alonso or Massa, I’m not sure whether they had a spare set left.

  42. JohnBt says:

    MARK WEBBER – !00% DRIVER OF THE DAY. What an awesome drive for Mark. He was on fire like you’ve never seen before. Well done mate!

    Lewis – was already showing signs of aggression since friday’s practice. Hamilton deserved the win without a doubt.
    He’s maturing swiftly for his strategy which he plotted and a very good one.

    Felipe – Congrats to him for outperforming Alonso, looks like he will be giving Nando a run this year. It’s great to see Felipe on the up with so much bashing he’s received.

    Alonso still have not solve his tyre issues. Yes the Ferrari’s slow this year but Felipe was ahead of him by a whopping 14 secs. He’s indicated even 3 stops wouldn’t make a difference, I tend to disagree. Hope he will recover by mid season and I’m confident he will.

    Race was much better, so far the best of the three. Not too much pit stop coverage for China highlighting more racing.

    This year it’s very important to follow live timing. Personally I was observing live timing more than the broadcast. Overtaking was still predictable, you could easily tell from the superquick laps after fresh rubber. Most drivers on worn tyres pulled aside almost too willingly.

    As Alonso has mentioned pole position is not so important anymore. Just a wrong move on strategy will mess teams up big time. Webber’s the proof for China.

    A 3 week break is welcomed. Been reading so much postings from James blog and others. Gosh, it’s like pursuing a degree! LOL.

  43. Pargo says:

    Has to go to Webber for me. A race with no safety cars, only 1 retirement, one solid overtaking move after another, he really had to earn it in the end.

    Great to see Lewis ahead of Vettel in the end. Last thing I want to see is a runaway wdc.

    I did get a bit confused with positions after a lot of the pit stops, but having live timing helped me with this.

    Honestly, anyone still moaning after this race (and KL) needs to consider watching something else.

  44. Glenn says:

    Webber easily.

    He has shown these last two events, that even without a 100% working car that he puts the head down and grinds out the opposition. People have already mentioned that Hamilton was better with passing, etc – last two races Webber has made passes stick on the outside of corners and in areas that most drivers wouldn’t dare.

    Yes, the bull has better grip that the other cars, but everyone gets the same tyres. Some use them better as drivers, others use them better as designers.

    Even though some people may think that taking 3 seconds a lap over other cars at the stage in the race he was is easy: every other car was at a similar fuel load, using the same tyres, and the same track conditions. If the car was such a difference, why was he taking chunks of time out of Vettel, and finished 2.3 secs behind him. At the rate he was going, 4 more laps would have seen him win.

  45. Nigel says:

    I have a theory that the RB7 is in a different class to the rest when it is running in clean air; somehow though it performs on a more equal level in turbulent air…

    The RB7 is unbeatable in qualifying and when leading, but beatable when it’s behind another car. That’s when driver skill comes in to play and Webber had an incredible day.

  46. Matt says:

    James can you please show that the two stop strategy wasn’t any worse than the three stopper. Lewis simply drove incredibly well and Mark was always going to make a strong recovery with the soft tyre on the final stint.

    Vettel still beat Button by a comfortable margin and the two of them were side by side at the first stops.

    Sebs performance simply wasn’t great this race, right from the get go with his mistake off the start line when he was in two minds about which McLaren to defend. The read between the lines comments from Red Bull were that they won comfortably with plenty in hand in Malaysia and Melbourne but I think that was exposed to be not so much the case today. If Vettel and Red Bull really were holding something back then today was the day they could have shown it.

    Matt
    Australian Autosport Community

    1. James Allen says:

      If you look at how fast Webber’s fastest lap was, compared to Vettel’s and to the McLarens, you can see how fast the car really is. Vettel couldn’t use it in China because he had to manage tyres.

      1. Matt says:

        Mark also had a brand new set of soft tyres while everyone else was on the hards. The softs are worth a second a lap and even then Mark was the only driver that had nothing to lose by going all out and pushing. Everyone else was nursing the tyres home and even Hamilton could afford to leave some in the bag as Vettel was falling back to him quite quickly.

        You really believe the Red Bull is 2 seconds a lap quicker than everyone else? This obviously wasn’t the case and if it were the simulations would have shown it and Red Bull would have opted for three stops. Obviously the two strategies were similar on ultimate time as shown by Vettel/Button. Hamilton and Webber were simply the exception to the rule here James.

      2. Nigel says:

        I don’t think that Webber’s fastest lap is particularly relevant, and his was the only one of the leaders on fresh softs in the last stint when the cars were lightest.

        The best comparison is when he and Hamilton were both running on fresh softs. Their pace was very similar indeed – but what is most interesting is that Webber’s tires lasted for a few more laps (though of course he didn’t have KERS).

      3. StallionGP F1 says:

        Webber lap is quite important as it was consistent over the stint you need to follow live timing you would understand or wait for the strategy report he was on quali pace throughout his stints thats more of a worry than lewis winning the race as i believe it would be a one-off remember 2009 jenson wins first 2 races all happy he lost at china only for hime to win the next 4 races.
        I think mclaren would be scratching there heads at woking as there was no drop off in webbers performance on the softs.

      4. Jean-Christophe says:

        The same applies to the McLarens doesn’t it?

      5. Aey says:

        Before Pit 2 of the lead group, Vettel 2nd about 5 sec behind Nico, he already in front of both Mclaren driver, at that stage I don’t understand why they have to change to 2 stop unless 3 stop as other driver around him

        If he use 3 Stop, I don’t think Lewis can pass him at any stage, and with the pace difference between Vettel and Nico, I don’t think it was to difficult for Vettel to pass Nico somewhere. at that time I curious why RBR don’t use 3 stop.

        After 1st stop, if Vettel is behind Jenson, is OK to think something difference, but Vettel got ahead of Jenson, RBR could switch back to 3 stop, I see no point to use difference pit stop.

        I am glad that Lewis win, I am Lewis fan, but I saw no chance that Lewis can win if RBR didn’t give him the wrong 2 stop, at the mid of the race, nothing force RBR to do 2 stop at all. everything pretty much in control of RBR to win.

    2. **Paul** says:

      I think the evidence that two stops was slower was there for all to see.

      I can’t see why you don’t understand that Matt? Take away Vettel, because his performance on the two stop strategy was extraordinary and look at the Ferrari’s. Massa was running P2, ahead of JB and Lewis, yet Ferrari’s decision to go two stop cost him dearly as he finished 6th. The two guys behind him at that point (given he’d actually caught and past Hamilton on identically aged tyres, and then did Button in the pits) went on to finish 1st and 4th.

      So I really do have to question on what grounds you believe two stops to on a par with the three stop strategy. Quite simply in these times of high tyre wear and grip falling away strategy becomes hugely important, and what we’ve seen in the last two races is Seb & Lewis get it right and wrong once each (or their teams). It really is that simple.

      1. Matt says:

        Paul the argument is as you say that 2 and 3 stops were on par with each other. Had Hamilton not dispensed with Button and Rosberg with such ease then he would not have won the race. What I’m trying to say is Hamilton and Webber were simply spectacular on Sunday and while strategy allowed them to take advantage of their more aggressive styles it wasn’t a pre-ordained result simply because they stopped one more time than some of their opponents. Horner backs this up by saying they still believe the two stop strategy was the right one, especially if you’re leading the race, why on earth would you opt to give up track position?

  47. Scott says:

    Finally Webber is on the list!
    He should have won Driver of the Day last week, if not at least a mention.
    That old man aint bad at all! :)

  48. Scott says:

    Oh, honourable mention to Kovi.
    Taking the fight to the midfielders, that says a lot!!!

  49. Torsional Rigidity says:

    Who knows? We might finally see some action at the usual boring Valencia race

  50. Sam B says:

    Both drove well, but I’m choosing Hamilton over Webber because he made it work both by good driving and good strategical foresight.

    I’m not taking anything away from Webber’s performance, but the strategy he was on came as a result of not making it out of Q1—thus he had three sets of softs for his three stops. While he drove a very good race, it was more the fact that he had all those fresh sets of rubber at his disposal that gave him the advantage.

    On the other hand, Hamilton was already thinking strategy as early as Saturday by electing to do just one run on Q3. Having saved a set of softs, he was able to attack during the race.

    The minute it was apparent Vettel was on a two-stopper, I was convinced he was cooked. It did for a while seem he would nearly pull a win off the bag, but those Pirelli tires just make a big difference to racing this year. Good bit of defending from Hamilton, though.

    1. BMG says:

      Ask Hamilton if he would prefer to start the race in 18th position to save the tyres. I think he would tell you to go suck an egg. Webber made the most of a very difficult situation.
      I just can’t get over the amount of people that still question Webbers talent. If he was that bad why do teams continue to sign him.

  51. 4thtryFirst says:

    I think the FIA should fogret about the KERS and DRS rules and just implement 2 new rules.

    1) Mark Webber must either be out in Q1 or not have KERS

    2) Whoever has the fastest car muasn’t be leadng from the first corner.

    The only reason the lead changed so much was because different drivers had to go different stratergies because they mucked up the start. If Vettel had got to the first corner first then it would have been over. Webber in the other fastest car back with the Lotus’ also made it interesting.

    If Vettel got away and Weebber was at the front then it owuld have been

    Webber (had a better drive, just guessing he would have had the same if he had qualified properly)
    Vettel
    Hamilton
    etc…

    Instead Hamilton got himself and the McLaren pace car infront of Vettel and so stuff happened.

    btw THe DRS was good for this race. Neither of the first two races were though.

  52. Nick Ward says:

    First off a good race to watch from my arm chair in Canada. Continual action, a good weekend for F1.

    Mark drove well, from the back of the field… Lewis drove a sensible mature race, with a planned weekend strategy…

  53. Gareth Foches says:

    FIA changed the DRS activation zone to the latter half of the straight to ensure DRS overtaking is not too artificial.

    They are tweaking DRS usage so they negate the ‘dirty wake’ of the car in front but still require drivers to execute a proper move.

    I would be moaning if every overtake is on the straight. As it is, most DRS overtakes were taken at turn 14 after the activation zone. But look closer and these overtakes are done by drivers that, well, aren’t thinking much when they drive.

    Vettel defended admirably at the usual DRS enable overtaking corners. His tires was 6 laps older but he still made his car as wide as possible in corners. An average driver would have tried that corner to overtake Vettel for another 4 laps.

    The only sublime overtake therefore was the simplest one by Hamilton at turn 7 against Vettel for the win. It was unexpected, but planned and it came as a shock to Vettel (even Vettel admitted as much with his infallible grin).

  54. Mao Xiaogang says:

    2011 Shanghai Grand prix should be one of Hamilton’s classic racings.

    Really impressive, starting from Saturday.

  55. Dino says:

    Very tricky – can I have two votes please?

    Plumped for Hamilton in the end as he showed how much he’s maturing as a driver and overtaking for the lead is pretty much a once-a-season rarity. Mark Webber definitely deserves an awful lot of credit too!

    To my mind it shows, regardless of what Red Bull might say, that the three-stop strategy was the way to go. How much further would Seb have been up the road if they’d made that his strategy rather than two-stopping?

    Nevertheless, one of the more exciting grands-prix! Roll on Turkey…

  56. Red5 says:

    I see Webber is getting the sympathy vote.

    However, only Lewis brought home maximum points for the team yesterday.

    1. Alex W says:

      If we award it to the winner, disregarding all other factors, then why have a poll?

  57. Thebe says:

    Mark Webber is definetely the driver of the day for me, to recover from his problems yesterday takes a lot out of a driver , I think it shows guts and determination. A very good drive one has to say.

    Lewis Hamilton drove very well , yes Vettel was in some way comprised by strategy( 2 stop Strategy) maybe he could have been unstoppable on fresh tyres.

    Massa was very strong in the race he was better than Alonso this weekend.

    Michael Schumacher: his fight with Alonso was very entertaining, after a miserable qualifying I think he recovered from that very nicely definetely looked like the Schumacher of old.

    Nico Rosberg: Drove very well such a shame he could not defend his position.

  58. Bobby says:

    Lewis, because it was absolutely crucial that he made all those passes stick when he did. If he’d got bottled up behind Massa or Button or Rosberg he never could have set about catching Vettel. To do it all on the track was breathtaking.

    1. Stefanos says:

      To add to that, he did it while his team kept telling him to take it easy. I’d have switched off the radio if I was him, his engineer seems much less ambitious than him!

  59. Matt Cheshire says:

    Where have all the respondents who were bagging Webber in the last posts gone?

    Its a tough call to split Webber and Hamilton this time. Both had the right strategy, and both had the 3 sets of soft tyres. Webber had the better car but no KERS. Both had to hold their nerve with setbacks before the race.

    I’d give the edge to Webber for claiming it was “just the job that needed doing” and for needling Vettel after the race. He got those points on Vettel but Hamilton missed that chance.

    Webber was still pushing Vettel after the chequered flag. He doesn’t stop racing. That relentless streak must have Vettel looking over his shoulder more than he wants to. Driver of the day.

    1. Alex W says:

      You’re right there – Hamilton was in a daze at his own brilliance, while Webber was still wheelbanging the Champ in the press conference!

  60. Voted for Hamilton, because he cut the domination of Vettel brilliantly, but Webber also did a good race.

  61. Tim says:

    Great race, fantastic driving from Webber and Hamilton. If rated on performance in the race then I would just give it to Webber. Across the weekend, Hamilton did the most complete job.

    Now I’m as big a fan of Lewis as anyone else but I do have some slight concerns with his current PR approach. His post-race comments in Malaysia were a bit sulky, which I had no problem with as he’s a full on racer and was onviously gutted to finish so far down. But on the pre-race programme on BBC1 he gave an interview to Jake Humphrey during which he (sort of) apologised for his comments the previous week, and then proceeded to be very critical of the team and some of the strategic decisions they took. Of course after this race he was full of praise for the team, but people do have slightly longer memories. I personally think he needs to remember that as a team sport, Lewis and McLaren win and lose together. As an example, Alonso didn’t slag off Ferrari after Abu Dhabi. Do we detect the new management team at work? Is Lewis being positioned for a move away from McLaren if he fails to win the title again?

    Would be interested to hear anyone else’s comments on this. Like I said, I’m a massive Lewis fan, the most exciting and complete racing driver out there, but I was pretty taken aback at how frank he was in criticising the team in that pre-race interview.

    1. **Paul** says:

      Tim, I agree, LH driver of the weekend, but Driver of the Day was Mark.

      RE: Hamiltons comments, he’s come out with some odd stuff recently, like suggesting Red Bull are just a drinks company (implying he didn’t want to race for a team with no history in the sport). Then there were his comments about Vettel, which I found to be disrespectful of the current world champion (and I believe any WC deserves some respect). Then there was his odd body language after qually on Saturday, where he appeared grumpy and his banter with Vettel came across as slightly whingey, whilst Button saying roughly the same thing was evidently banter. Then we add on the emotion after winning the race, and I’m left puzzeled by what’s going on in his head at present.

      You maybe right, he might be wanting a move, but you cannot always have the best car in F1, sometimes you have to work at it. As you say his interview was again really odd, I was shocked. FA’s comments thus far about this car (which isn’t as good!) are no-where near that cutting.

      I fear some poor decisions are been taken in the background to what we see on Sunday afternoons.

  62. Dave says:

    Tough one – for me it has to be between Hamilton and Webber. I’ve opted for Hamilton because we know the Red Bull is fast so Mark was always going to get back up there (although getting to a podium was incredible work).

    Hamilton had the issue with his car before the race which made me think he probably wouldn’t complete the full 56 laps, but the moment the lights went out he was excellent, and his strategy worked out brilliantly.

    Shame Button couldn’t make it work too – I was getting quite excited about a McLaren 1-2 towards the end but it didn’t quite come off.

  63. Andy C says:

    I gave driver of the day to Mark (very narrowly beating lewis). Based on Kers being worth 7 seconds over a race distance, you’d have to have given him a chance of winning it if he’d had it.

    Just a fantastic race wasnt it. The fact that any one of a handful of drivers could be argued to have done drive of the day is testimony.

    I can’t recall having seen such an exciting and unpredictable race for a long time.

    I see the doubters are out in force in regards false racing, with the DRS, but yesterday so many of the overtakes came about in different parts of the circuit where DRS was not used.

    What the tyres situation has introduced is people making mistakes or using too much tyre up in the first stint.

    Still trying to get over JB and his pitstop blunder. I bet he gets a bit of banter from the other drivers on that one for time to come.

    Anyone/James,
    in regards the overfill of Lewis car, perhaps someone can explain flooding. I saw them literally lifting tissue paper out covered in petrol. Where were they lifting it out of? Looked like the airfilter but I’m no techie expert when it comes to engines.

  64. Johnty says:

    Sure Hamilton brought home the 25 points and helps his chances in the World Championship. But that is not the question, the question is “Who was the driver of the day?” my vote is Mark Webber. I think he was the driver of the day.

  65. Richard says:

    Has to be Webber by a mile! We all had him written off and he seemed to be going backwards in the first phase, but all of a sudden he came into the reckoning. Whilst Hamilton drove a brilliant race, to some extent the win was gifted to him. Vettel’s poor choice of strategy left him vulnerable in the last few laps and it was like taking candy from a baby. Also the Button faux pas had the effect of losing both Button and Vettel around 3 seconds which coincidentally is about the same as the winning margin.

  66. Fletch says:

    Hamilton:
    Overtook his team mate with very similar tyres without DRS.
    Caught and passed Vettel for the lead.
    Quickly passed slower cars or cars on different strategies to maximise his strategy e.g. Rosberg, Massa, Petrov etc

    Webber:
    Went very fast in the best car with new tyres. Good drive but any of the drivers could have done it in the same situation. 18th to 3rd is a nice headline but definitely not as good a drive as Hamilton’s.

    A true F1 coneceur

  67. Fletch says:

    Hamilton:
    Overtook his team mate with very similar tyres without DRS.
    Caught and passed Vettel for the lead.
    Quickly passed slower cars or cars on different strategies to maximise his strategy e.g. Rosberg, Massa, Petrov etc

    Webber:
    Went very fast in the best car with new tyres. Good drive but any of the drivers could have done it in the same situation. 18th to 3rd is a nice headline but definitely not as good a drive as Hamilton’s.

    A truely knowledgable F1 fan would see this, Coultard gave Hamilton his Driver of the Day, people voting webber are probably just Hamilton haters or don’t really understand what is going on.

    1. Scudderite says:

      I have to agree with you there. Hamilton unfortunately does have a lot of haters who would rather vote for any driver than him.

      I agree with your reasoning, and just think it is a shame that Hamilton doesn’t get the credit he truly deserves from so-called F1 fans. Webber had a storming drive, but was in the fastest car on fresh tyres. Hamilton overtook skilfully and where it mattered, plus overtaking your own teammate without DRS, on the same strategy, and without the teammate being asked to move aside is the true test.

      Definitely Hamilton!

    2. O.S. says:

      Forgive me, but your comments are rather hectoring and patronising. Choosing a different driver to the driver you picked does not mean that someone is motivated by a ‘hatred’. I’ll forgive your spelling mistakes of ‘truely’ and-’coneceur’ but sadly truly knowledgable F1 fans often have different opinions to yourself. Like in any debate, evidence has to be wheeled out and decisions arrived at.

      Your ‘evidence’ that Webber’s voters are motivated by hatred and ‘any of the drivers could have done it’ is weak.

      Hamilton – was passed by Vettel during the first stint when tyre wear was largely comparable. Also passed by Massa – I am still unclear over this.
      - Passed Vettel during his (Hamilton’s) third stint on fresh tyres and Vettel’s were falling off. Ditto Massa – Rosberg was also on a three-stopper but had fuel issues- remember?

      Hamilton was on the right strategy and took a deserving win.

      You mention Hamilton overtaking ‘without’ DRS – he still HAD DRS to hand – unlike Webber, who had no KERS.
      Hamilton, like Webber, was on fresh rubber.

      The strategy determined the race – Hamilton’s overtakes, though impressive, were largely down to him being on fresh rubber. 3 stops was a better strategy than 2 stops.

      ‘Definitely not’ as good a drive – pretty close call I would say.

      Yes, I know that doesn’t sit well with fans who only look at F1 through the prism of their beloved driver.

      As boring as it sounds, Vettel didn’t not win because he is a less impressive racer/overtaker than Hamilton – it was all down to tyres.

      Please allow others to express their choice of driver of the day without ‘hating’ others.

      1. dufus2 says:

        Well said

    3. **Paul** says:

      Well done to Lewis for passing Vettel when his tyres were shot, and Massa and Petrov when they had old rubber on. The only cars he passed on like for like rubber were his team mate and Rosberg who both jumped out of the way if truth be told.

      A truly knowable F1 fan would know that and take into consideration the fact that Webber had no KERS and started in 18th.

      I’d suggest that you are the one who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

      1. Bobby says:

        Sooooo what you’re saying is, Formula 1 isn’t about strategic racing and overtaking only counts when Mark Webber does it?

        Hamilton was utterly sublime, even his biggest detractors can’t question his talent; passing 9 cars on the track and winning the race after only making it onto the grid with 30 seconds to spare.

        The fact is: Lewis won in an inferior car, it’s a huge achievement.

      2. StallionGP F1 says:

        What you have said here is unbelievable the mclaren is the second fastest car the redbull was in trouble with vettels strategy and webber had a poor grid slot so it was obvious a mclaren was gonna win the race so saying lewis won in an inferior car was disingenuous also like i said earlier if Vettel wins the next race we go back to the season being boring.

      3. dufus2 says:

        I love it how MW fans say “great race Mark, gritty effort”, “great drive”, “kicked butt”, Simple right ?

        And LH Fans say, “Sublime drive”, “Masterful stroke”, “Genius at work”.

        I just LMAO at this stuff !

      4. **Paul** says:

        Bobby I was being sarcastic!

        Lewis did win in an inferior car but with a superior strategy and whilst passing 9 cars is an achievement I’d hazard an educated guess that Webber passed more without the luxury of KERS. The point being that it’s not always the number of overtakes that matters, but the context and situation of them.

      5. O.S. says:

        Bobby – ‘ Lewis won in an inferior car, it’s a huge achievement.’

        It’s a huge achievement – congratulations to Hamilton.

        But how ‘inferior’ do you think the McLaren is? On a qualifying lap, 0.7 is a huge disadvantage. If Hamilton/Button could snatch pole from Vettel then that would be an OUTSTANDING achievement.

        Race pace – pretty even stevens I would say – Red Bull’s KERS issues and the tyre wear/importance of strategy seem to overcome the qualifying gap.

        Fans/analysts seem to like overhyping this ‘McLaren inferiority’ thing and make it seem like a mid-field car has got to the front row or won a race.

        The McLaren development between end of testing and Melbourne really closed the gap in terms of race pace.

        **Paul** – Yes even though I believe Hamilton drove a great race – Button seemed like a frightened rabbit when Hamilton was behind him – and Rosberg had fuel issues. I rate Hamilton extremely highly (despite not being a McLaren fan) but I can’t quite equate the overtake on Jenson with say, Hakkinen on Schumi at Spa..

        **Paul** is also spot on to say a superior strategy overcomes an ‘inferior car’. (though we might disagree on how ‘inferior’ the car is)

        2011 is going to be the year of strategy. It will be interesting, say in another race with Hamilton on shot tyres and Vettel cruising past if people then start going on about ‘a sublime drive’ or more predictably ‘Well, Hamilton’s tyres were off so it wasn’t a GREAT overtake.’

      6. Bobby says:

        Well how would you describe some of the drives we saw in China “dufus2″? Webber and Hamilton stood out in a stand out race and, thankfully, some fans aren’t above expressing an affirmative response. I fail to see what there is to ‘LMAO’ about that.

        O.S. I’d be saying the same things regardless of the driver. F1 was the biggest winner on Sunday.

  68. WoZ says:

    Like most – I vote for Webber, simply brilliant all things considered!

    It’d be nice to see him drive like that on a more consistent basis instead of waiting to have his back against the wall before delivering something special.

    Special mention to Kovy for punching above his weight in the Lotus!

  69. PaulL says:

    It was a bold move on Button, though in needs to be honestly said that Jenson did not fight it. Might be because he’s a team player, but he certainly isn’t the kind of competitor Lewis is.

    I still believe that the best measure of a driver is whether he can beat his teammate. Not everyone has a teammate as strong as Hamilton obviously, but it occurs to me that few other drivers are beaten so often as Button at McLaren.

  70. john g says:

    webber was maybe driver of the day – especially as he didn’t have KERS – but he wasn’t driver of the weekend. i know he had some problems in practise but getting knocked out in Q3 was his mistake. so overall i’d have to give it to Lewis – he made the passes when it really mattered.

    also i’m pretty sure i heard that Heikki’s fastest lap was quicker than Alonso’s…?

    1. dufus2 says:

      Marks ousting was in Q1 actually.
      And it was a pit wall decision with regards to tyres. This is covered in quite a few places.

  71. Nathan says:

    one question…

    would vettel have won on a 2 stop strategy if he hadnt been slow off the line. Perhaps he would of pulled out enough of a gap to hold on to the lead?

  72. Rob H says:

    Shout out to Kovalainen and D’Ambrosio from the smaller teams. Kovalainen for beating a couple of midfield cars on merit, and D’Ambrosio for putting Glock well in the shade all weekend, including outqualifying him by about 6 tenths.

    Webber gets the DoD for me, with further honourable mentions for Rosberg, Hamilton, and Massa.

  73. Andrew says:

    Mark Webber for sure. He could have simply given up from the start or got stupid or silly and lost a wing hitting someone in midfield. But kept his head despite bad opening and pumped in the laps and passed whoever he came acrossed. Maybe his best drive ever?

  74. Pit straight weaver says:

    Hamilton. His overtaking was sublime.

  75. Taz says:

    For me, Webber’s driver was great, but we have to remember he still has the fastest car out there. But still a great drive. For me the Mercedes guys did make the race especially interesting cause all of a sudden out of nowhere you see Rosberg leading the race…it was amazing. And I personally am super excited to see Schumi back in the action, so he is my driver of the day…

  76. Nil says:

    Going off topic here; it would be great if the broadcasters and live timing on the official F1 site show an on screen breakdown of driver tire stints. For example:

    Driver: Penelope Pitstop
    Start : Prime
    First stop: Option (Lap 18)
    Second stop: Prime (Lap 40)

    This would make it easier for the fans to follow the race.

  77. S2K says:

    Mark Webber. He is just unlucky. Another Nigel Mansell?!

  78. Peter says:

    Top 3

    1 – Lewis Hamilton – anyone who makes big passes at the front like that deserves driver of the day. Waited patiently for his moments to come in the race. And when he was ready he clawed his way through like a man possessed. World class.

    2 – Mark Webber – stunning. Had the benefit of 100% fresh tyres unlike the rest but used them as good as anyone could. Stunning pace at the end fully optimising that great car and it’s tyres.

    3 – Michael Schumacher – he gave a lesson to everyone into how to defend and attack in 90 short minutes. Incredible defending showing he still has truly exceptional race craft.

  79. TheWon4 says:

    The results of these polls are always somewhat unnerving b/c most people don’t look beneath the surface. On the face of things, Mark Webber was by far the best driver, but what were the consequences of his success? A Red Bull came third. Not terribly impressive, though, I may change my tune if Red Bull win the constructor’s title by a handful of points.

    Hamilton won the race. The psychological and competitive consequences of his actions and McLaren’s strategy are far more consequential. McLaren now believe they can win, and they have stolen a valuable victory from Vettel while they develop an updated version of their car.

    The implications of McLaren victory are more important than an entertaining masterclass from a team who screwed up qualifying. Without knowing the outcome of the constructor’s title, it is impossible to pick MW.

    1. dufus2 says:

      90% of the F1 community disagree with you.
      But of course you are entitled to your opinion
      as are the rest of us.

  80. Mr Squiggle says:

    A bit of a late vote from me.

    My heart says Webber but my head says Hamilton.

    P3-> P1, including an ontack pass for the lead puts him in a 50/50 for race of the day.

    The clincher for me is that Hamilton’s win also changes the shape of the championship.

    Until China, we were looking at a complete Vettel/RB domination.

    Now we have a live championship race and for giving us that, the least we could do is give him driver of the day.

    1. O.S. says:

      Mr Squiggle – We have to consider the driver of the day based on the facts and circumstances of the arace.

      To choose Hamilton because it means the championship is now ‘open’ is putting your own hopes for the year onto the race.

      3 races in – Even if Vettel had won it hardly ‘sealed’ the championship. Look at Alonso last year!

      To slightly twist your logic – if Vettel had retired with a puncture on the last lap he might get ‘driver of the day’ for making the championship more open!

  81. Chris W says:

    Call me old-fashioned but I’d like to see a return to the days when driving skill was the ultimate determinant in FI races. Having to pit several times because tyres only last a handful of laps is turning the sport into farce.

    If they can fuel cars to the end of the race why not have tyres that will also last the distance? One set of dries and one of wets per race, and let’s see who can really drive…

  82. Chris W says:

    Further to previous … it’s not so much pitting several times but having to conserve short-life tyres for most of the race that is taking away from the actual racing I miss.

  83. I like Mark Webber a lot but what counteracts his occasional flashes of brilliance are poor starts or the major mistake he often makes at crucial points in the championship.

    These are equally often compounded by unreliability or woeful strategic decisions made by the team.

    Lewis has made a few notable mistakes and misjudgements of his own, but these are largely behind him and it’s easy to forget just how young he still is.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Vettel and Hamilton are currently the two best F1 drivers on the grid. I suspect that Lewis is probably the fastest of the two so it’s probably just as well that Adrian Newey left McLaren and designed Vettel’s Red Bull !

    Other drivers :

    We clearly need to keep an eye on Paul Di Resta : he proved capable of beating Vettel in equal machinery and there can be little doubt that he will be in a better car, possibly as early as next season.

    You never know, he might just be driving the second Red Bull.

    Perez, ditto

    Fernando who ?

  84. Krishchar says:

    Driver of the day without any doubt mark webber

    Seb too performed superbly and brilliant drive indeed

    One thing which is very funny, massa outperformed alonso ?

    Felipe massa is the worst driver i have ever seen in F1 thus far, he never deserves ferrari drive. It’s a shame and disgrace seeing him drive this ferrari, on other hand Alonso is genius and best driver in F1 ever in my view

    To say massa performed better than alonso is silly

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