Posted on April 10, 2011
Malaysian Grand Prix – Who was the Driver of the Day? | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

It was an all action race today in Malaysia with some great performances from a number of drivers. So who was your Driver of the Day?


Sebastian Vettel
Took pole under pressure from Hamilton, also held the lead at the start under pressure from him. After that he managed the race brilliantly coping with no KERS, maintaining his tyres and his engine. Has led 109 of the 114 laps in 2011

Jenson Button
Started fourth on the grid and held it at the start. Battled with Alonso and Hamilton in the race and got ahead of both through pit strategy. Was faster on the hard tyre at the end. Did a great job to make the most of the tyres and the tactics -and his rivals’ problems – to take second place today.

Nick Heidfeld
Qualified sixth and had a sensational start, moving up to second place, which was the platform for his podium finish today. Managed his race very well with a three stop strategy and used the solid performance of the Renault in race conditions, which is stronger than in qualifying.


Kamui Kobayashi
Started 10th, finished seventh. Another stellar and thoroughly entertaining performance from the fans’ favourite. Some tremedous overtaking. But he showed his versatility too by using the Sauber’s gentle action on the tyres to manage a two stop strategy – the only driver in the top ten to manage it.


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Malaysian Grand Prix – Who was the Driver of the Day?
228 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Andrew
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 2:39 pm 

    I think it has to go to Heidfeld. Must have been under huge pressure to perform after Australia yet silenced his critics. Brilliant start made the Mclarens and Ferraris look like rookies and a typically mature drive to 3rd best result the team could hope for.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    Agree to consider Nick as the Driver of the Day. Impressive back to back podiums (podia?) by Renault.

    I’m really impressed with the Renaults’ performance on the starts. James, do you think they have something different on their cars to get this amazing starts? Both in Oz and in Malaysia they were impressive.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    In other words… I’m impressed! :-D

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    Am forever a fan of Kobayashi. Imagine Kobayshi pulling his moves in a Ferrari, oh boy that would be something for eternity, a revival of Villeneuve Sr.

    DonSimón Reply:

    Think we were all pretty impressed with Heidfeld, was a solid race and another example of how far Renault have come this year. Button drove a fantastic race and Webber was pretty good too.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    Definitely!

    [Reply]

    Mario Reply:

    Has to be Petrov for his long haul flight stunt. I am becoming a fan.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Owen Li
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 2:59 pm 

    Jenson deserved the honour.
    He always took great place which all of us weren’t aware of.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Dan
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm 

    Webber doesn’t even crack a mention?? No KERS at all (vettel had it off the line) so gets swamped to 10th, 4 stops, rear spoiler doesn’t work in last laps, still gets 4th and fastest lap. Any credit?

    [Reply]

    Michael S Reply:

    it helped that Alonso and Hamtilon were forced to make an extra stop after their bumping, and Petrov crased out so he would have been 7th with out their help….

    not a bad race for Mark, but we are seeing this year that the party is over for Mark as Vettel is clearly the fastest man in the sport now

    [Reply]

    Dave C Reply:

    Yes totally agree Vettel is the fastest in F1 and with the added maturity and consistency who knows how many titles this kid can win, maybe Schumacher’s 7 titles can be beaten sooner rather than later.

    [Reply]

    Azz187 Reply:

    I would bet my bottom dollar Seb never gets close to 7 titles…
    The level of talent in f1 these days (like in the late 80′s early 90′s)is going to prevent anyone dominating for so long, I would be surprised if he cracks 3 titles.
    I still don’t think Vettel has yet proved himself in terms of fighting from behind!!

    charlie 1 Reply:

    It would be nice to see some parity with mechanical and electrical reliability between the two RB7′s.
    Then again people just see what they want to see.

    [Reply]

    Allan Reply:

    Of course few were saying (seeing?) the same thing a year ago when Vettel’s reliability was crappy over the first two races…

    David Mulhall Reply:

    You’re forgetting Alonso benefitted from Webber’s issues with KERS and so did Hamilton to a degree- he would have been under pressure as the Red Bull cars had the underlining performance over the McLarens. I wouldn’t be turning the lights out on Webber’s party just yet!

    [Reply]

    Peter So Reply:

    Vettel the fastest … I am not sure. What I am sure he is in the fastest car at this moment. But I think few drivers can be better in the same car.

    [Reply]

    frosty Reply:

    Button too benefitted from their collision.

    [Reply]

    Jeff Reply:

    I’m with you. Mark drove a faultless race and almost podium-ed. He progress provided the most entertainment for me. Carrying KERS with no performance benefit was a huge penalty.

    [Reply]

    Matt Cheshire Reply:

    Is James overcompensating for the perception that Webber is given preferential treatment in the media? Webber gives the media more time and insight than other drivers, so he gets more back from the press. JA has felt the need to defend this in the past.

    James, were you too conservative in your list – or are you thinking MW really did fluff his start on top of the KERS failure?

    [Reply]

    Leo Reply:

    Yes yes absolutely he did a great job and did not rate a mention
    Whats wrong with everbody !!

    [Reply]

    Fozzy Reply:

    For me it was definitly Webber. To not have KERS at all and at one stage slip down to around 15th position it was a great comeback.
    I would say that it was probably his best race yet. His overtaking move on Massa was ballsy abd perfectly executed.

    If he had KERS off the line i would say he would have beaten Vettel on pure pace.

    [Reply]

    J Reply:

    Agree with Webber been the driver of the day, also that a few drivers on the same car as Vettel would do better or at least the same.


  4.   4. Posted By: ginnerchris
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:05 pm 

    Jenson for me. Outperformed fellow champions Hamilton and Alonso, didn’t make any mistakes, and recognised the understeer he was suffering in the first stint and changed wing setting accordingly.

    Honorable mention to Heidfeld who bounced back from an awful weekend a fortnight ago. Gutted we’re not going to see Kubica challenging for the title this year in a car which is clearly capable of mixing with the best.

    Vettel’s race was strong, as it usually is when he can lead from the front. I think his lack of KERS is being over played, as he did get it back after a few laps.

    Congrats to Sauber too for another solid race which shows they are the class of the midfield, and faster than Mercedes at the moment.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    I think that Button’s solid performance is being overplayed.

    [Reply]

    Peter C Reply:

    Yes, you would think that.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    And you would say that!

    Robwal Reply:

    Fact is Vettel never lost KERS, he was told to switch it off.
    Mark should walk away to Ferrari now where his ability will be appreciated, not sabotaged to preference a sports drink poster boy.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    Are you suggesting that Red Bull is intentionally throwing away millions each year?

    [Reply]

    Azz187 Reply:

    Agree 100%

    [Reply]

    Ayron Reply:

    I’m a fan of Webber’s, but Ferrai would be an even worse place for him.

    While it might be nice to think that the performance issues for Webber are some kind of grand conspiracy by Red Bull, I doubt very much that they would do that.

    Mark has had a couple of minor car issues – it happens in F1 – and he hasn’t been able to quite maximise his performance, but the fact is that Vettell has performed to perfection this season to date.

    Vettell, is showing a maturity that seemed to develop through the second half of last year – after he took out Button – and has been nothing short of brilliant this season. Well done to him, he deserves his success.

    [Reply]

    Matt Cheshire Reply:

    If only Vettel could keep his mouth closed, those posters would look better. Surely he doesn’t drive like that? Are there no flies in Germany?

    Great talent, but don’t need to see the tonsils all the time.

    But seriously, we can’t be claiming sabotage at this end of the season. How much does it cost RBR to give Webber the seat? They could just hire Villenuve to guarantee a middle finish.

    Even if RBR felt the need to clip Webber’s wings, it would only make sense at the end of the season and if Vettel was guaranteed to finish it. One accident and Webber could be the default No1 driver.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    Silly comment. Red Bull want to win, be it with Webber or Vettel.

    The cold hard fact is that Vettel is and always has had the measure of Mark Webber at Red Bull. He doesn’t need any extra help to beat his team mate. Just look at qualifying, both had perfect cars and yet one was faster, just as one was faster in Australia.

    I’m sure Webber is a lovely guy, but this anti-Vettel sentiment is childish. The guy is quicker than Webber, accept it and move on.

    [Reply]

    TheWon4 Reply:

    It’s definitely Jenson. He gained two positions without retirements or collisions. He made the most of Hamilton’s bad pit stop, and that was all he needed to secure 2nd place.

    Everyone else on the list got help, except Seb who controlled the race from the front.

    [Reply]

    frosty Reply:

    Jesnon drove a strong race but i didn’t see him overtake anyone. So, solid yes, but hardly driver of the day.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Michael MacDonald
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:11 pm 

    Paul Di Resta for me. Second race, second points score. Out performed his teammate, challenged, and beat, drivers in faster cars, consistent throughout. Couldn’t ask for more than that.

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    the_rh1no Reply:

    Great Shout

    [Reply]

    Kieran Reply:

    +1 (+2? what’s the ettiquette for this?)

    [Reply]

    Les Reply:

    er, get an etiquette and wait in the queue….?

    [Reply]

    Smeghead Reply:

    Definitely an impressive showing for Di Resta.

    Mind you, he is Dario Franchitti’s cousin. There’s gotta be some sort of genetic thing going on there…

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Ram
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:25 pm 

    For me it has to be Nick …. awesome start to the race … probably this season is the last chance for Nick to extend his stay in F1 and actually win his first GP … he has reliably good car in Renault .. all he needs to deliver the goods on the race track ..

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Alex
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:31 pm 

    Mark Webber for being able to challenge a podium so well without having any use of KERS the entirety of the race. Coming back through the field from his start was phenomenal with what was effectively a car that had the straight line speed of a Virgin.
    Aside from that Heidfeld 1, Kobayashi 2, Button 3, Vettel 4.

    [Reply]

    Matt Cheshire Reply:

    That’s my list too. Webber made one of, if not the pass of the day. He made no mistakes, and maintained the right balance of aggression and control for the whole race. His only “error” was on Saturday missing out on pole. No other driver faced the same adversity and prevailed.

    2. Heidfeld overachieved from start to finish

    3. Kobayashi battled and maximized his place with his own effort.

    4. Button made no errors and made his strategy work with second rate machinery.

    5. Vettel didn’t put a foot wrong and handled the start (and qualifying) perfectly; but no one challenged him strongly enough for him to prove himself further.

    Vettel was unbeatable but Webber was the driver that proved his grit and class on the day. Vettel was, hands down, the driver of the day on Saturday.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    I’ve got to disagree. Webber made a shocking start, and that wasn’t due to KERS (as that’s not deployed until the cars are up to some sort of speed for traction reasons). His bad start was then further compounded by his lack of KERS I will agree, but his start could have being much improved even minus KERS.

    Additionally Mark is obviously very hard on tyres, and I would suggest he was fortunate that Alonso clipped Hamilton picking up a place for that.

    When all is said and done in F1 you have to beat your team mate. Even with KERS I don’t think he had the pace to challenge Seb this weekend. It’s 2-0 in qually and 2-0 in race terms to the young German. I find it hard to see how he could be driver of the day given the performance of Heidfeld.

    [Reply]

    Fozzy Reply:

    Wrong Paul. not having KERS off the start ruined Webbers start. He may have lost a few positions off the start but to lose 7 spots in 1 lap was not his fault. When a car has 80 extra horsepower on a straight that is 1 km long its not hard to get past.

    WHat showed the pace difference was during the race i saw Webber having to use a Virgin to slipstream to get past.

    For him to fight back from there to almost snatcha podium was gold.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    His start was poor without KERS, KERS doesn’t stop your car bogging down as it’s not utilised until the car is in 2nd or possibly 3rd gear. Ergo his start was poor, and that was Webbers fault. He simply didn’t dial enough revs in initially. I admit that KERS would have helped him, but he would have lost at least a couple of places with it working.

    Michael MacDonald Reply:

    Completely agree with this comment. Webber was aggressive but inconsistent. He was also behind his teammate, which means he shouldn’t get driver of the day.

    [Reply]

    Jeff Reply:

    If you read a bit deeper he had clutch problems off the line. Carrying the weight of KERS and not having the extra power would absolutely destroy the rest of the start.

    James Reply:

    How is Mark obviously hard on tyres? Proof please.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    Mark was unable to make his tyres last in Australia, and it seems that the same happened in Malaysia. Why did he make 4 stops? I’ll tell you now that 4 stoppers only work if you can overtake as you cannot rely on track position, and not having KERS is a big issue in that respect. His strategy was largely dictated by tyre wear, if he could have run the same sort of pace on three stops he’d have got a podium, but he couldn’t.


  8.   8. Posted By: Jack Flash
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:31 pm 

    Heidfeld drove a good race under some pressure to perform, and he made a fantastic start, but he did have both his KERS and DRS working.

    Webber lost his KERS before the start, lost 7 positions at the start because of it (downta 10th position), had to resort to non-ideal 4-stop strategy, made 2 passes of Kamui Kobayashi (no mean feat without KERS), and made an EPIC pass of Massa around the outside of corner-4 – making it stick in the following complex. All to very nearly get a podium spot from Nick Heidfeld (settling for a 4th). So, how can the vote go to anyone but Webber? Really!!

    PS: Quite perplexed as to why Webber wasn’t on the ‘Best Drive’ Voting List you posted JA.
    JF

    [Reply]

    Bruce Reply:

    Same here. Massa pass was more than epic. Got the attention of Martin and DC.

    [Reply]

    Aussie Grit Reply:

    I agree 100% ………awesome drive by Mark considering no kers and drs not working sometimes

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Jess
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:33 pm 

    Fernando Alonso for me, easy!

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    Why? Have I messed the irony?

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Luke Robbins
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:35 pm 

    How is Mark Webber not on this list?

    [Reply]

    Speed F1 Reply:

    Exactly!!! I think JA could also have a voting on fans’ fav between Webber & Koby

    [Reply]

    Jonas Reply:

    Seconded. Webber drove brilliantly.

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    Webber had a poor start and was inconsistent, went harder on tyres than anyone else and lost to his teammate. No way should he be on this list.

    Aussie Grit Reply:

    Michael, did you watch a different race ???

    Unbelievable comments


  11.   11. Posted By: Ghost in the Ruins
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:42 pm 

    Webber for me. Recovered from an awful KERSless start and made a 4 stop strategy work from all the way back in 9th place. Passed a few guys on merit along the way.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: frosty
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:46 pm 

    I think Webber is worth a shout as he suffered KERS problems off the start putting him back to 10th, yet finished 4th.
    Strong race for me.
    Certainly on a par with Button’s, imo.

    [Reply]

    charlie 1 Reply:

    Kers wasn’t a problem it was non existent.
    That’s an instant handicap when your team mate
    has no problems. Remember Horner has said Seb
    had Kers at the end of the race he just didn’t use it. Webber on the other hand couldn’t use it.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Michael S
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:52 pm 

    Vettel had to pull out a last secodn pole on a track that did not suit the RB. He had KERS problems all race and never put a tire wrong. I am not buying… “he has the fastest car” argument. the Maccas are just as fast… If the RB’s were so domnant then Webber would not be finishing off the podium every week. No one wants to give Vettel his dues as the fastest man in F1

    [Reply]

    Robwal Reply:

    Vettel had no problem with his KERS, he was told to switch it off, but continued using it throughout the race(Christian Horner has publicly stated that there were no problems with Vettel’s KERS system).

    http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft23125.html

    Webber was the standout. Having been stabbed in the back by his own team (no KERS) he still powered to fourth, taking the fastest lap along the way.

    [Reply]

    DonSimón Reply:

    Stabbed in the back? Race 2 and we already have the tinfoil hats coming out.

    [Reply]

    Kieran Reply:

    Tin-foil crash helmets, surely?

    Michael Reply:

    Wow, I’m a Webber fan but using things such as stabbed in the back is way over the top. The KERS broke, is an unreliable system and Webber is way too hard on his tyres. He recovered well but had a bad start regardless of KERS. Should not be on this list.

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: unoounocv
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:55 pm 

    Mark Webber.

    I’m suprised he isn’t on the list.

    He had no KERS at the start and hence had to run the revs a bit lower at the start. Running it lower reduces wheel spin and give a better start but does risk bogging down or even antistall. Webber took the risk, unfortunately bogged down slightly and without KERS, he couldn’t get any further and was down in 10th before the end of lap 1.

    From there he didn’t throw in the towel, and managed to manage several successful overtakes without KERS. It can be noted that especially down the straights while he managed to catch up with a better traction on the first, on the 2nd he couldn’t use his DRW to get the pass as he should have because his rivals used the KERS to counter effectively.

    He also did 4 pit stops! Didn’t ever have KERS, had to overtake take his way through the field, got caught behind slower cars at times – And only finished 26 seconds down (1 pit stop approx) from the winner!

    He lacked the car advantage (so you can’t just say he was driving a RBR), yet pushed through to a 4th and nearly podium.

    Best drive since Hungary last year for Webber, and definately deserves IMO Driver of the Day

    [Reply]

    F1 Fan Reply:

    Well said unoounocv, I was initially thinking Vettel for Driver of the day but what a comeback by webber. If Lewis or Button performed the same feat as Webber did yesterday in a car with no KERS and without DRS working towards the end of the race (I dont think I’ve seen anything offical about that yet, but it definitely wasnt working at the end of the race), people on this forum would be going crazy but how great they are. It seems Webber rarely gets the recognition he deserves.

    [Reply]

    unoounocv Reply:

    True. Good point.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: martin
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 3:58 pm 

    Has to go to FIA stewards for penalizing racers because they race. Vettel made excatly how many moves in the start?

    For the racers – has to go to Heidfeld. Made most of his car and had to race to get where he got. I wonder when will Vettel have to fight for positions instead of cruising until the end with dominant car.

    [Reply]

    rams Reply:

    this season would test vettel’s skills as RBR’s KERS is still in its infancy.

    [Reply]

    Ayron Reply:

    Vettell will fight for positions when someone else finds a way to qualify faster than him. Whether or not he has to overtake anyone else on track shouldn’t diminish his drive or the recognition his talent deserves.

    He is, so far this season, the stand out driver, wringing maximum performance from a top quality piece of equipment.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Mao Xiaogang
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 4:35 pm 

    I think it is Alonso.

    He drove a weak Ferrari powerful, with a real possibility to take a podium position.

    He past Button on the road greatly, would have done that to another Malaren had not been his rival’s illegal driving.

    [Reply]

    Lilla My Reply:

    Would give it to Alonso if not for the crash. What a pitty… he did have a great race, but ruined it at the end (though I enjoyed the battle with Hamilton a lot).

    [Reply]

    Michael S Reply:

    you fail to mention Alonso goes backwards at the start of every race now… if he actually held position or even picked up a spot at the start of races then I think he would be able to fight more

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    To be fair he wouldn’t have been aware that Webber’s KERS was not functioning. Driving into Hamilton was his fault.

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Jake
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 4:48 pm 

    Button for me. He should be handed the win if the stewards are going to be consistent. I already thought Vettel weaved a bit much off the start, then Lewis gets a penalty for the tinyest of movements that had no real effect on Alonso. I guess Bernie wouldn’t let them ruin it for golden boy. A great race that i thouroughly enjoyed, ruined by the stewards!

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    It looks as though, as far as the moaners are concerned, RB is the new Ferrari and Vettel is the new Schumacher.

    [Reply]

    frosty Reply:

    I think some people just watch F1 to moan about it.

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    LOL….Quite!

    Damian J Reply:

    Only through the lens of those who favour the red cars.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    Interestingly, now that Button has accepted that he was at fault in Melbourne the moaning has shifted from the allegedly “unfair penalty” that was applied to Button to the allegedly “rule-violating” tactics employed by Massa in order to keep Button behind!


  18.   18. Posted By: Ralf F
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 5:06 pm 

    Seb performed perfectly, in the sense that he did everything that was expected from him. But Heidfeld exceeded expectations with that sensational start which effectively drew him into the fight with the McLarens and Ferraris. Alonso, Webber and Hamilton’s problems most likely helped him in reaching the podium, but still it wouldn’t have happened without that sensational start and his effective defence from Webber at the end. Too bad it prevented us from witnessing a head to head between Lewis and Seb in what looked like very evenly matched cars today, that is until Hamilton put the hard tyres on.

    [Reply]

    Geno Reply:

    How is Seb supposed to exceed expectations when his expectations are to take pole and then win?

    He’s 2 for 2. Time to start giving him some credit.

    [Reply]

    Ralf F Reply:

    Precisely. I wrote he did everything perfectly, I am giving him credit. But still I voted for Heidfeld. If I had to vote for the driver of the year so far, it would be Vettel, but this was for the driver of the race.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: KinoNoNo
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 5:11 pm 

    I have to say you’ve got to give it to Vettel(this coming from a non-fan)

    That said huge respect to Kamui.Yet again got maximum out of the Sauber.
    I think he is truly the real deal and has silenced his critics that pigeon holed as wild and dangerous.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: raffamuffin
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm 

    I really don’t understand how you can vote Button? For me it’s gotta be Seb or Heidfeld.

    I loved the battle between Alonso and Hamilton… just like old days. Any idea if it was Alonso or Hamilton who cried off to the stewards, or whether it was all part of the standard stewards enquiry after a racing incident?

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Carl Craven
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 5:22 pm 

    Kobayashi never fails to entertain. Put him in a decent car and we’d have a real season

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: For Sure
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm 

    Clearly it has to be Vettel. I know most people dont rate him as high as Lewis or Alonso but the fact is that even top drivers, multiple world championship materials like Lewis do mess up in tricky conditions like today. He made it looked easy when things were very complicated.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: For Sure
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 5:54 pm 

    By the way when did Kaumi became fans’ favorite? I like him tho even when he overtakes my team, Schumacher, sometimes.
    James, do you think he could be a contender?

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: rodger
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 6:02 pm 

    Vettel for me…but I really enjoyed Button’s drive too. If Webber and Hamilton don’t learn to protect their tyres like their teammates can they will be hammered all season long.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Laura
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 6:06 pm 

    How many times did Kamui overtake Schumacher? My vote goes to him although Nick was a v close second.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Ender
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 6:26 pm 

    Mark Webber, dealt with a failed kers and moved methodically up the field to 4th, podium just within reach despite the huge disadvantage and a 4 stopper.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Martin
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 7:07 pm 

    JB drove a great race, a really well thought through strategy as ever, I don’t think in a straight fight he’s as quick as Lewis but winning an F1 race needs many components to come together. P.S I think Sebastian had KERS all along, the call not to use it meant use it! or Button may have caught him, notice SV’s lap times improved after the radio message!

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    “a really well thought through strategy as ever”

    It didn’t seem to differ a great deal from the intended strategy for Hamilton.

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    I think was JB’s tyre management and front wing tweaking that gave him the edge.

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    Hammer meet nail!


  28.   28. Posted By: Gary C-G
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 7:34 pm 

    When does F1 cease to become a sport and completes it’s descent into a wrestlingesque show?

    The FIA are tripping over themselves introducing gimmicks to make “the show” better such as DRS and KERS and then they shoot themselves in that very foot that does the tripping by penalising two ex-world champions for a racing incident.

    It’s truly pathetic and is only going to kill the exciting wheel-to-wheel racing that they are trying to produce.

    Instead of stupid artificial gimmicks they need to completely revamp the whole silly, inconsistent rulebook and fix the terrible stewarding.

    Where is Vettel’s penalty for his first corner blocking? It’s hard to imagine how you can ruin something and leave such a bad taste. Do the FIA have a team of experts whose sole job it is is to ruin F1?

    I’m disgusted, it’s a total farce.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    HAmilton should count himself lucky that the stewards at Bahrain in 2008 were more lenient.

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    And so should every driver for the smallest of infractions judging by the stewarding decisions this weekend!

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: sri
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 7:37 pm 

    Mark Webber for me.

    No KERS in the race, lost places because of that had the motivation to pull the car to almost a podium from ninth/tenth at the start. He did brilliant pit-stops (all first) and everyone “followed” him whatever he did.

    He is the driver of the day!

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Gary C-G
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 7:38 pm 

    Forgot to add, was impressed by Heidfeld, great to see him do well. Also Webber and Kobayashi. Button wins it for me though.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Red5
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 7:44 pm 

    There will be many drivers satisfied with today’s race and rightly so.

    For me, Nick deserved his podium and gets my vote.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Serrated Edge
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 8:01 pm 

    Jenson for me, started 4th and ended 2nd through great tyre management and tactical nouse to outfox the likes of Hamilton and Alonso.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    “through great tyre management and tactical nouse”

    It seemed to be a fairly standard strategy. Perhaps because his team-mate always struggles to preserve tyres, this flatters Button’s tyre management abilities. There were a number of races last year where Button’s famed tyre management skills went walkabout.

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    Not a bad result for a “standard” strategy!

    As I reminded you on Saturday….it’s the result that counts!

    Button shows again that he is a master when it comes to tyre preservation. It was clearly a factor in Button’s success….and managing to avoid any impetuous driving shunts.

    [Reply]

    mtb Reply:

    And it is a shame that the result was so bad for Lewis! As I pointed out on Saturday, the set of soft tyres that he flat-spotted could hamper his race strategy. Based on what Martin Whitmarsh has said, Hammy’s late-race pit stop was unnecessary. Did Lewis have a strop?

    Damian J Reply:

    But Hamilton didn’t rail against his fellow competitors with a clenched fist!

    mtb Reply:

    Interestingly, Button failed to pile on the pressure when he was told that Vettel was having KERS problems.


  33.   33. Posted By: Dale
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 8:22 pm 

    What a joke the FIA are with Hamilton’s penalty. Watching it live and listening to Brundle’s commentary he never saw anything wrong and neither did I.
    Surely if Hamilton’s driving warranted a penalty then so did Vettel’s for his weaving at the start!!!

    The stupid drag reduction system is just that, stupid, this is F1 racing it’s nothing but a joke. If they must have it then drives should be free to use it as they see fit be it for overtaking or defending both part of the art of a racing driver (as for Coulthard harping on in his way saying it’s no different top the old turbo buttons ne’s completely missing the point as in those days the driver in front could also use his to defend and not be a sitting duct.

    All in all can’t say I really enjoyed todays’ Grand Prix and how anyone can seriously vote for Heidfield as driver of the day………..well!

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Vic
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 8:24 pm 

    Hi James, quick question for you

    If Di Riesta keeps improving and beating his team-mate Sutil, what is the chance of Hulkenberg coming in to replace Sutil at some point in the season in your opinion.

    Vic

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    There has to be a good chance, sure. Although Sutil brings money from Medion

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: ryan
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 8:27 pm 

    I’m with those in the Webber camp. It was a terrific GP and one that confirmed to me that Mark has still got both the passion and the skill to mix it with the best. Did anyone else hear that Mark’s DRS also had problems in the last few laps? What are your thoughts on Mark’s KERS issue affecting his qualifying time? Either way, I feel like he’s improving and has closed the gap to Vettel – full credit to Vettel though, another faultless drive.

    [Reply]

    ryan Reply:

    ps that should have read “is closing the gap to Vettel” – clearly he’s not there yet! We’ll see what China tells us!

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Janis1207
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 8:44 pm 

    Vettel for me.
    Once again did it in qualifying, then controlled the race perfectly. Reminded me a bit the old “professor” Alain Prost who also was driving only as fast as was necessary (and 4 times champion he was!).
    Webber actually was sleeping at the start, the absence of KERS having only a secondary effect. You probably noticed how the lights went off unusually soon? Both Renaults and Schumi reacted very fast indeed, Webber did not. And then spent the evening trying to climb back and battling excessive tyre wear. Very unlike Vettel.
    Great drives also by Heidfeld, Kobayashi and Schumi, probably diResta should also be mentioned.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Darren
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 8:53 pm 

    Vettel was the driver of the day as he took pole and won the race…. However these things never work like that and being British you have to support an underdog.

    Heidfeld for me, excellent performance under pressure from Mclarens and Ferraris. Silenced his critics. I dont buy all this “what if Kubica was in the car” stories, there is no doubt that Kubica is class but Nick is also a very good driver that has been criminally overlooked during his career. In their time as team mates I thought they were fairly evenly matched, RK possibly had him on outright speed but Heidfeld is consistantly fast and under these regs thats what counts.

    Honorable mention to Button who had a strong race and Webber who kept at it despite his lack of KERS.

    [Reply]

    Allan Reply:

    Love Kubica, but I agree with what you say… Heidfeld is fast in his own right.

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: monktonnik
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 9:10 pm 

    Schumacher got my vote.

    I though he raced really well and had easily the best start.

    JB also deserves honourable mention as does Alonso and Kobayashi.

    [Reply]

    For Sure Reply:

    Yea despite being his fan, I am also his critic when he sux. But yesterday considering a number of elements such as bad car, his very very good teammate’s situation and the fact that it was Nico’s favorite track, he did very well I think. If we had a 30 yrs old Schumi, I dont think we can expect more than that.

    [Reply]

    monktonnik Reply:

    You can see now that the car is holding him back rather than the other way around. His practice times looked competitive compared to Rosberg’s, who I think we can all agree is a pretty decent driver, so MSC is clearly getting more comfortable now he has had time back in the saddle.

    [Reply]

    For Sure Reply:

    Agreed. I think may be Nico is more than a decent driver. I reckon he can at least trouble Lewis, Vettel and Alonso in the same car.


  39.   39. Posted By: Nando
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 9:14 pm 

    Quick Nick. Think he makes up for Kubica’s quicker raw pace with better racecraft, I’m not convinced Kubica would of pulled that move at the start.

    [Reply]

    rad_g Reply:

    I think he would, if Petrov was in front of Nick he would be where Nick was, Petrov was next to Nick in the first corner.

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Andy c
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 9:21 pm 

    Really dissapointed to hear the article in the guardian with Lewis.

    IMHO he needs to be a bit more team focussed. He doesn’t Go to town on himself like that when he crashes.

    Poor, really poor.

    Yours,
    A mclaren fan …..

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: TG
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 9:49 pm 

    What a sham! The two greatest racers on the grid go at it, sparks fly to produce the highlight of the entire race – and they both get penalised!
    Urm, what’s the point then? Sorry, was this not supposed to be a race?
    Hamilton defended, Alonso attacked, that’s what they’re supposed to do!
    I really wouldn’t blame either of them if they upped sticks and joined Kimi in Nascar.

    Sorry to rant (well, not really) but does the FIA imagine that the best motorsport spectacle in the world is watching drivers fighting to save their tyres instead of fighting for position?
    If the FIA had their way we’d soon be watching the World Staring Championships, ala Big Train.

    [Reply]

    J Reply:

    The only overtakes the FIA wants to see are the sanitized DRS versions that they themselves have created.

    The penalties come out every time a decent on-track battle gets heated. The drivers should be able to make defensive moves, the drivers should be able to push someone to the edge of the track and beyond, the drivers should be able to test their wills and it should be expected that they might bump tires or knock a wing off from time to time.

    The FIA only adds more and more rules when what they should really do is remove some.

    If Villeneuve / Arnoux happened today they would have both be given 10 place grid penalties.

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    One of my favourite F1 clips of all time for those that might not have seen it.

    How they managed to race like that is beyond me.

    I’d think they’d ban them these days for 5 races wouldnt they ;-)

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Matt Stanford
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:03 pm 

    Looking at the sector times (I love technology) – Webber was smashing them in the middle sector after his front wing adjustment. That he was able to still overtake with rental-car straight speed says something of his skill.

    Love that Alonso was adapting to cover his car’s failings, and Ickle Nick certainly deserved his podium.

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: Bmuz
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:09 pm 

    As per other comments – Mark Webber.

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: Sergio
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:14 pm 

    No FOM replay on Hamiltomn moves on the straight.
    There was really OBVIOUS moves on the straight.
    No investigation at all IN RACE on very clear moves on Hamilton. No clarification need it.
    Last year NO REPLAY on Hamilton with SC overtaking.
    Review 2008 Bahrein GP. Any punishment there? On Hamilton of course. NO.
    It’s Hamiltons second time on waving.
    I missed Charlie Whiting’s finger on Hamilton on the straight.

    The best driver? Who cares? No fair and square game with Whiting & Ecclestone (FOM).

    I can proved with evidences.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: Mark Taylor
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:16 pm 

    Webber for me. His pass on Massa was very calculated, and strong. Pass of the day in my opinion. To almost get a podium after 4 stops, and failed KERS from the start is true grit.

    Happy for Heidfield. Young DiResta continues to impress as well

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: Alexx
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:24 pm 

    James,

    do u think that the Vettle’s & Rocky’s very public radio traffic broadcast of ‘DONT USE KERS’ repeat that Rocky, ‘DONT USE KERS’

    and then him subsequently setting a blistering fast lap-time within that stage of the race,

    could it be a inner team-mate message to Webber about his kers malfunctioning and true race pace?

    [Reply]

    Matt Stanford Reply:

    yeah, but who wound up with fastest lap anyway? No doubt Vettel is freakishly quick; can’t see Webber catching him this year, now Seb isn’t making schoolboy errors.

    [Reply]

    Stevie P Reply:

    I reckon that RBR’s message to Vettel about KERS, was a double-bluff; they know that certain messages are played over the radio. For example, they used code-words, phase 1 and 2 for tyre conditions… so you’re telling me that they don’t have a code-word for KERS? Pull the other one!!!

    If you’re out front and “cruising” (sorry, controlling the race) what do you want a chasing car to do (in 2011)? You want to encourage that driver to ruin his tyres.

    What better way to encourage a chasing driver to push too much by suggesting you have an issue? :-)

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: Robwal
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:35 pm 

    Everyone praising Vettel for his victory, despite supposed KERS issues, needs to read this.

    http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft23125.html

    Vettel never lost his KERS, while Mark’s strangely did not work in Q3 or the start of the race.
    I am disgusted will redbull sabotaging Mark in order to maintain their poster boy’s status.

    [Reply]

    AK Reply:

    What a stupid claim to make. Why would they sabotage their own driver when they could easily just sign a willing no. 2 if need be?

    [Reply]

    For Sure Reply:

    Yeah I have nothing against Vettel but its time to question Red Bull’s integrity espeically Marko.
    Why its always Mark’s car and not Seb?
    You gotta be completely naive to rule out “that” possibility in a sport where someone crashed to let his teammate win.

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    As big a Webber fan as I am, I think any notion of sabotage is nonsense. Look at the amount of problems Seb had last year.

    The team want every point they can get, especially at this stage in the season.

    Even on the subject of the front wing last year, you can see why they did it. They want to do what is best for the team and ensure that they win the championship. The best way for them to win the championship last year was to back Seb, it paid off so they were fully justified. As a Webber fan I did not like it but you have to admit that with the form Seb is in you have to tip him.

    I just hope Mark can turn it round this year.

    That said I do not like Helmut Marko one little bit, theres something about him.

    [Reply]

    monktonnik Reply:

    I’m sorry, I just don’t see where you are getting the notion that Red Bull sabotaged Webber’s car from.

    It would be completely counter productive in terms of the constructors championship; in whcih their position dictates a large part of the team’s revenue for the next season.

    Based on the relative pace you could argue the Mercedes tampered with Schumacher’s car in Q3 and Mclaren with Button’s.

    What I read from the Horner interview you posted is that the KERS puts more strain on the rear tyres and they opted not to use it for strategic tyre management and to avoid a fourth pit stop.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    It makes no sense for a team to do that. All points are valuable

    [Reply]

    nsx Reply:

    You’re missing a trick here James. At the beginning of the season Red Bull are keen for their wonderboy to create some distance to Webber, therefore removing the tensions of last season, and allowing them to prioritise to Vettel without creating any controversies. They can then use Webber to take points off the others and act as a rear gunner for the little German.

    James Allen Reply:

    Ah of course. And your theory on the JFK assassination? Grassy knoll?

    monktonnik Reply:

    James,

    Do you think that KERS is contributing to tyre degradation? Would RBR have been telling Vettel to lay off the KERS to protect his tyres?

    James Allen Reply:

    I think it does a bit yes. But it also has an effect on braking stability. It’s a complex thing to integrate and Red Bull are playing an interesting game with it. I’m sure the thing is unreliable, but it’s interesting that they’ve had two perfect starts with Vettel now and then not used it again in the race.

    nsx Reply:

    Appreciate the reply James. Before you are so dismissive, be aware that I am the same poster who provided the detailed breakdown analysis of exactly why the Brawn strategy in Spain 2009 for Barrichello made zero sense (during the 2009/2010 break where we had plenty of great comment discussions). Brawn clearly favoured Jenson Button that year, and that race was the best example. In much the same way Red Bull favour Vettel – that doesn’t mean they don’t want Webber to score points, of course they do! But they will prefer Vettel to be in front of Webber, just as Brawn preferred Button to be in front of Barrichello.

    Otherwise it becomes inconvenient.

    James Allen Reply:

    At that stage, maybe. It’s a bit early for this season

    Andy C Reply:

    Why would a team want to jeopardise their own driver in race 2, when they also want to win the constructors.

    Your argument just doesnt make sense.

    James,
    is he still racing the same chassis as in Oz?

    [Reply]

    Steve in Somerset Reply:

    On what evidence did RBR sabotage Webber? Just because he’s had a couple of bad races and his KERS failed?

    Last year, Vettel lost out on wins directly due to mechanical failures in Bahrain, Australia and Korea. On top of this he also suffered mechanical problems in Spain (brakes), Italy (engine losing power) and Britain (front wing failure in qualifying).

    Does that mean that RBR was trying to sabotage Vettel last year? No, it doesn’t. Likewise, just because Webber has had a couple of bad races and a KERS failure, it doesn’t mean the team is sabotaging him.

    As many others have said, why would you deliberately try to make a driver score less points when you know that those points directly contribute to the WCC and thus, your revenue that is gained at the end of the season?

    [Reply]

    Alex W Reply:

    While I agree there is no sabotage, (just good old Webber luck back), I think you will find Vettel’s wing in Britain didn’t fail, as I recall he actually had the best wing that day!

    [Reply]


  48.   48. Posted By: Johnty
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:36 pm 

    Webber, and his race strategy team. Great race in bad circumstances. It easy to take for granted how fast Vettel is, we hardly even see him on TV now as he is too far down the road, so an awesome race for him. If Heidfeld finally had a shave and a haircut I’d say Heidfeld, he looks like a bum

    [Reply]

    Robwal Reply:

    Yeah, it must be great to have the team 100% behind him along with a faultless car and KERS.

    http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft23125.html

    While Mark gets shafted (Kers switched to safe mode?) to help maintain Vettel’s Number one status.

    [Reply]

    Allan Reply:

    Obviously all those same Red Bull saboteurs must have mistaken Seb’s car for Mark’s at that start of last year… Wow… Just wow…

    [Reply]

    charlie 1 Reply:

    I think the big lesson RBR learnt from last years conspiracies is that they can get away with
    it provided they continue to do it. Once you stop
    you can see the difference.


  49.   49. Posted By: ethone
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 10:59 pm 

    I just can’t see how you can consider Webber. He had some great moments but wouldn’t have gotten as far ahead without the Alonso/Hamilton mischief. I’m impressed he handled a bad situation relatively well the second time in a row though.

    Vettel… dominating driving but domination is boring. Driving it from the front is (comparatively) easy.
    So from those four, I’d have to give it to Kobayashi or Heidfeld. Heidfeld’s start was daring and exceptionally good. He fought well but didn’t quite put in that game-breaker move and pretty much went downhill from his great start.
    So by the process of exclusion, I’d pick Kobayashi of the four. He’s battling like a maniac with inferior machinery against much better cars. Impressive!

    [Reply]

    charlie 1 Reply:

    I think in this case you’re only as good as your car. Webber was handicapped as early as Q3. Vettel on the other hand had lesser mountains to climb. Yes, Heidfeld’s start was impressive. Would it have been made possible without a lame RB7 to easily pass? Maybe.

    [Reply]


  50.   50. Posted By: BMG
        Date: April 10th, 2011 @ 11:41 pm 

    James, you must have watch a different race. Webber was clearly drive of the day. Vettel had a good race so did Button. Webber strategy forced Hamilton to pit early in turn put pressure on Alonso to get passed Hamilton causing him to crash out. I would like to see how Vettel and co would have handled this.

    [Reply]

    monktonnik Reply:

    Good point. The other teams do seem to react to whatever Webber does. I think they see him as a definite threat.

    Abu Dhabi 2010 anyone?

    [Reply]


  51.   51. Posted By: Scott
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:04 am 

    JA, please put Mark Webber on the list.
    I think he’s made the most overtaking moves of all the drivers in your list.
    No KERS and yet his was fighting for positions with those with KERS (and won a few)?
    If he was given a few more laps, he would have overtaken Hiedfield as well.
    Vote for Webber!!!

    [Reply]


  52.   52. Posted By: James Clayton
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:28 am 

    James… I generally appreciate your unbiased views but really…?

    “Started fourth on the grid and held it at the start. Battled with Alonso and Hamilton in the race and got ahead of both through pit strategy”

    you don’t think the 2 seconds Lewis lost in his first pit stop due toe the (front?) left might have helped Button’s impressive ‘strategy’/ Not to take it away from Jenson; he was clearly (casually) faster than Lewis after the second round of pit stops, but to say that Jenson got Lewis on strategy is totally unfair. I would expect more from a chap who made his way into the game through commentating on what was going on in the pit lane…

    [Reply]

    James Clayton Reply:

    that should read ‘clearly (unusually) faster than Lewis’… not sure how one can be casually faster, dont know where my brain was when writing that one lol!

    [Reply]


  53.   53. Posted By: Desmo
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:29 am 

    It had to be Webber for all the reasons mentioned above. And an honourable mention to Petrov for best air, hope the backs ok son….

    [Reply]


  54.   54. Posted By: JB
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:43 am 

    I’ve chosen Vettel as the driver of the day because out of the list of drivers, he is the one driver without KERS.
    Add that to the fact that he led the race throughout meant that he couldn’t use DRS as well.
    That means he had 150HP less than all his rivals and still he managed to stay ahead. Other drivers without KERS really suffered (e.g. Webber). However, Vettel made it looked easy and that earned him driver of the day for me.

    [Reply]


  55.   55. Posted By: JB
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:45 am 

    Another (out of topic) note, I think Renault has a real championship winning package this year!

    I really think they should have Heidfeld and Kubica (if only he is available) as driver line-up. I bet Kubica would be going head-to-head against Vettel if he was present.

    [Reply]


  56.   56. Posted By: Nazdakka
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:46 am 

    Heidfeld, for certain.

    [Reply]


  57.   57. Posted By: InnocentBystander
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:53 am 

    I voted Heidfeld since it was so great to see him get on the podium however I must echo the comments of others…How is Webber not on this list?

    No KERS, sub-optimal strategy and he still managed 4th after being swamped at the start. Some inspired overtaking and defending – overtake on Massa was overtake of the race. Gritty drive despite the problem shows us he’s still got it.

    You only need to have a look at the overtaking stats to see what kind of drive it was:

    P. Driver Overtaking
    1. Mark Webber 10
    2. Felipe Massa 6
    3. Kamui Kobayashi 6
    4. Paul di Resta 5
    5. Adrian Sutil 5

    Probably a bit late to amend the poll James but perhaps you can give us your thoughts why he didn’t deserve to be on this list? Interested to hear your assessment of his drive.

    [Reply]


  58.   58. Posted By: Doug
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:58 am 

    Webber for me – four stops in a knobbled car, and drove it from 10th to 4th. How is he not an option?

    Vettel? (Pole position was the drive of yesterday, James!), and wasn’t switching KERS off an instruction given to him, rather than a malfunction?

    Other than that, Heidfeld was wonderful, and Koby entertaining as always.

    [Reply]


  59.   59. Posted By: Steve Selasky
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 1:12 am 

    Sorry boring race for me. The fastest car is always going to be the fastest car.

    I rather see …. a ban on tyre changes with no refueling. Now let’s see who the best driver is………

    [Reply]

    Stevie P Reply:

    Really!? You found the Malaysian GP “boring”? I would say that it was far, far, far from being boring. Action on-track (all over the place and for almost every position) from start to finish!

    Yep, there were some simple overtakes with DRS, KERS etc, but these were generally when one car had fresh tyres and the other didn’t. There were other overtakes where DRS, KERS brought the car behind into contention, BUT didn’t make it easy i.e., there were battles in and into braking zones. Some of the “tech” worked sporadically, thus made drivers re-assess where to pass.

    [Reply]


  60.   60. Posted By: SH
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 1:16 am 

    Mark Webber for me. Kept his head in the face of all kinds of adversity, and nearly got on the podium.

    [Reply]


  61.   61. Posted By: Koby fan
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 1:54 am 

    I’m still not convinced about the 2011 regs & tyres – I think they are hampering the naturally aggressive “racers” like Hamilton, Alonso & Koby in favour of conservative smooth “drivers” like Button & Vettel.

    Heidfeld probably just shaded Webber for driver honours today.

    What is the lowest grid position Vettel has won a GP from? He’s proven he’s super quick but can he overtake when the pressure’s on…

    Koby was good..but i can’t help feeling he’s still driving conservatively this year to collect points – i think Sauber wanted to bank some easy points after the Aus GP disqualification. They were obviously hoping for rain to take max advantage on a 2 stopper…Hopefully Sauber in future races will unleash Koby with same stop strategies as Ferrari and Lotus Renault – I think he can take it Alonso, Massa & Petrov…

    [Reply]

    jack_faith Reply:

    i think you have a point about the 2011 regs there. Doesn’t get mentioned enough. Do we want to see drivers racing or managing their tyres best?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Both, we can have both with these rules so why not? Isn’t that what yesterday showed?

    [Reply]


  62.   62. Posted By: Keith
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 2:04 am 

    Please add Webber to the poll, repeat no Kers, Broken wing and landed 4th almost a podium.

    [Reply]


  63.   63. Posted By: Alex
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 2:09 am 

    My vote goes for Webber, yes vettel was faultless and Heidfeld did an exceptional job, but Webber had a very slow car and made the most of it, passing Kobi TWICE, it really was an incredible recovery (and with a bit of luck) to get back near the front.

    [Reply]


  64.   64. Posted By: Matt M
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 3:04 am 

    +1 Webber, genuinely shocked he wasn’t on James’ list.

    [Reply]


  65.   65. Posted By: Pargo
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 3:27 am 

    Driver of the day for me would be a split between Heidfeld and Webber. Mind you, Vettel did manage to pull off a clean overtaking move which I don’t believe I’ve seen before…

    [Reply]

    Stevie P Reply:

    Was this when Seb nipped past Button and Heidfeld (in the corridor) on his way to the podium? ;-)

    [Reply]

    Pargo Reply:

    Nice one!

    [Reply]


  66.   66. Posted By: Robwal
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 3:46 am 

    Hi James,
    I was wondering if you had heard anything about Mark Webber moving to Ferrari for 2012, or do you believe this season will be his last?

    [Reply]


  67.   67. Posted By: Simon Donald
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 4:02 am 

    Vettel – a strong race but the car (in his hands) is definitely a step above the rest. Unlike in Melbourne he really was in cruise control most of the race and didn’t have to do any hustling for position at all.

    Button – Great race and a mature race by Button. Fast when he needed to be. Long shot for the win at all stages, but put enough pressure onto Vettel for them to bring him in a little earlier than planned.

    Heidfeld – One of the best starts I’ve seen I recent years. Well driven race. Did somewhat luck into his podium, but it was deserved given his pace thru the whole race meeting.

    Webber – a good comeback but you do get the feeling that Vettel is in a league of his own in the team now. Was on fresh tyres when he needed to be to make the most of a bad situation.

    Alonso – a stronger race than I was expecting, but as I saw it and still see it, made a stupid mistake trying to pass Hamilton.

    Hamilton – a difficult race. Clearly cannot make his tyres last as well as Button. The accident with Alonso was a simple racing incident IMHO. I didn’t see Hamilton weaving like some people were doing on the pit straight.

    Kobayashi – strong race. Knew when to push and when to conserve the tyres. The Sauber is obviously significantly kinder on it’s tyres than anyone else and Kamui made it work.

    —–

    A difficult choice for DOTD, between Heidfeld, Webber and Kobayashi – I’ll give it to Heidfeld for the start!

    [Reply]


  68.   68. Posted By: Darell
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 4:15 am 

    No brainer – Webber!! Can’t believe JA didn’t put him on the list…..

    [Reply]


  69.   69. Posted By: Rudy Pyatt
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 4:43 am 

    I find it interesting to read the conspiracy theories concerning Webber and Vettel. Unfortunately for Mark, that’s the biz. How would DC’s career have gone if he hadn’t moved over for Mika back in ’98? Would Heidfeld be discounted now by so many fans if he had stayed in front of Kubica for that first BMW win?

    F1 teams ALWAYS favor one driver over the other. Should it be that way? Whether yea or nay, with very few exceptions, it has ever been thus.

    It’s been shown time and again, and for many reasons, including pragmatism (Clark was a genius and was rightly favored, but it must be said that Lotus never seemed consistently capable of preparing two cars to the same standard. Senna invoked that very point in his Lotus days); or from ruthlessly efficienct use of supreme talent (Ferrari in its Todt/Brawn/Byrne/Schumacher form).

    And, no less, from emotion, as shown by (of all teams) McLaren.

    For all that Ron Dennis is accused of being cold-blooded, he’s certainly been emotionally invested in his drivers. See the Mika/DC reference above. I strongly suspect that Ron’s reaction to Mika’s return from near death at Adelaide (an incident that is known to have really, really shaken RD) played an underlying role in the team’s approach, at DC’s expense, in Mika’s first win. More recently, I think there’s no question that, intellectually, Ron EXPECTED McLaren to win with Alonso in the team. But I’m also convinced that, emotionally, he WANTED McLaren to win with Hamilton. Given that Lewis came up to the team through Ron’s personal involvement, it could hardly have been otherwise.

    For all the “we treat our drivers equally” talk from McLaren down the years, only now (post-RD) does that ring true. For now: I suspect that this to some degree accounts for Lewis’ apparent discomfort recently. If that discomfort persists, then Jenson will become the emotional center of the team.

    Top drivers on the day –

    Heidfeld – As always, crafty and professional, with some bold overtaking at the outset;

    Vettel – Another dominant performance from the front. He’s no Jim Clark – not versatile enough, or at least not allowed to be, and I certainly can’t see him going anywhere near Indianapolis – but the great Scot won most of his races from the front, much as Vettel has made a habit of doing;

    Button – As ever, smooth, faster than he seems to be running, and faster than he’s generally given credit for;

    Kobayashi – As always, a real swashbuckling overtaker, a hardcore throwback to an earlier time.

    [Reply]

    Peter C Reply:

    Thanks – an excellent post, very thoughtful.

    May not please the Ferraristas though – too much mention of McL !

    Hope you have your tin hat on, the one with the mtb label!

    [Reply]


  70.   70. Posted By: For Sure
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:29 am 

    I have gotta say this is the funniest quote of the race.
    “I don’t know how many times I passed [the Mercedes driver Nico] Rosberg. Every time I came out of the pits, I was alongside him and I think I overtook him four times. It was quite confusing. I know it sounds crazy but I didn’t know where I was but I just kept battling away.”

    Poor Nico, its not his fault thst he ended up driving for a retarded team which I support.

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    Its a real shame to see Mercedes all at sea, especially as they took half of last year off to develop the 11 challenger.

    Has to be some large head scratching going on at Brackley and Maranello at the moment.

    As much as I’d like to see Mercedes do well, I cant help but think Brawn was an opportunistic winner of the title. I can’t see them being able to obtain long lasting front runner status.

    I still have a sneaky feeling that Lewis might go there after McLaren…

    [Reply]


  71.   71. Posted By: BenM
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:42 am 

    Webber for me as well.

    He obviously would have known that he was likely going into damage limitation the moment he got into his car on Sunday.

    Smart enough to figure out that he was gaining most in sector 2 and then told the team to make a wing change at one of his stops to improve performance in that sector.

    [Reply]


  72.   72. Posted By: ben2mx
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 6:00 am 

    It is so obvious that the RedBulls have a huge advantage over the front flexible wings. I was looking at the pole lap from f1.com and they move at more angles than when it was actually legal to adjust the front wing. I mean come on, I am happy a team other than the usual is fighting them, but that is against the spirit of the rules. Wings that generate huge amount of downforce WHEN you need it (at a cost of not too much top speed) but in Malaysia in the slower sectors (R2) Webber posted the fastest speed (not top). thats why they have such a great handling. Am I wrong?

    [Reply]

    Peter C Reply:

    No, you’re not wrong.

    [Reply]


  73.   73. Posted By: nsx
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 6:43 am 

    Easy. Mark Webber. No KERS. Drops to 9th after the first few corners, then is defenseless against Kamui due to having no KERS, and Kamui having DRS AND KERS. He’s down in 10th place after a few laps, and seemingly out of the race completely unless it rains, because he has the straightline speed of a Virgin without KERS.

    Then he pits early, and after less than 10 laps into the race, he’s back in 17th position behind the Team Lotuses. Webber’s second stint was something akin to a Senna charge in the wet. He was taking no prisoners and overtook half a dozen cars in this stint.

    He managed to beat Felipe Massa despite doing an extra pitstop, due to overtake of the day. Webber showed immaculate racecraft, the stuff we have never seen boring Vettel (who is a true Felipe Massa – that is, struggles to win from anywhere unless he is first round the first corner).

    Webber – what a drive with no KERS. News also in. Vettel was given new parts just before quali which Mark did not get. Great drive from Webber, from a team which clearly wants to put distance between Vettel and Webber early in the season, to avoid any team conflict.

    No.1 – Mark Webber
    No.2 – Nick Heidfeld
    No.3 – Jenson Button
    No.4 – No. Last – The Rest

    [Reply]


  74.   74. Posted By: syed
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 6:54 am 

    Whats the buzz abt heidfeld. Come on after his great start he kept going downhill. On the otjer hand alonso rung laptimes outta his car n nearly got a podium in a shabby 150. N yeah koba was good as usual. Vettel wa superb n i was also impressed by di resta. Still cant quite undrstnd why many of u hv gone for quick nick

    [Reply]


  75.   75. Posted By: Harvey Yates
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 8:02 am 

    A difficult one to call as there was no really outstanding drive but quite a few who drove commendably. I’ve gone for Heidfeld but could easily have opted for Kobay (or di Resta had you included him).

    Few really stupid moves for a change, Alonso being the worst and that was little more than a misjudgement. It would appear he didn’t realise just how much LH’s car was affected.

    And enjoyable race mainly, I feel, because there was so many good drives.

    [Reply]

    ben2mx Reply:

    I agree, I am an Alonso fan, but he did not (or the team) didnt realize that Hamilton was very affected.

    [Reply]


  76.   76. Posted By: Malmedy
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 8:18 am 

    By far Kamui. His speed and consistency and very impressive. I think he has the smartest approach to racing of all the drivers:

    - in melbourne he clearly stated he didnt attack to much to learn the tyres
    - yesterday picked his battles very wisely, letting faster cars through as to not ruin his strategy, but fighting when required

    If he keeps going like this he will require a better car next season. Heidfeld and Kamui at renault for next year!

    [Reply]


  77.   77. Posted By: Bevan
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 8:51 am 

    The Red Bulls must have something illegal about them to be so quick,Lewis has the 80hp advantage of KERS & he can’t get anywhere near the soda pop car,Adrian Newey’s really good,but not that good,bent wings anyone.
    So it would have to be Heidfeld’s day IMO.He drove a very solid race after the aberration of Aust.

    [Reply]


  78.   78. Posted By: seifenkistler
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 8:58 am 

    Sorry Jenson, but i vote the other Buttons as driver of the day.
    For me the race looked like: am i allowed to press the wing/kers buttons and if i do, will they work as they should. Kobayashi did a lot of overtaking, but seeing that Schumacher went to pits same round, ….

    It was nice to watch with all the action-mainly because of the fail-functions in the systems, but i think it somehow killed this ‘driver of the race thing’. How can we compare if half the cars had mail functions in the buttons or new tires versus old.

    Heidfeld had no problems with the wing/kers buttons, Button had only problems with a single button called Jenson, ….
    Hamilton had functioning kers and wings, Alonso no wings,…

    I think if i would have to choose: Heidfeld, just for the what if at start, what if he had got Vettel at the start too.

    [Reply]


  79.   79. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 9:08 am 

    Adrian has been “that good” for some time now ;-)

    [Reply]


  80.   80. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 9:10 am 

    James

    one thing I can’t quite understand is the rake of the RB7.

    I can imagine that the aggressive rake puts more air pressure onto the floor (increased angle of attack), but doesnt it mean the rear of the car is higher off the ground, thus reducing the effectiveness of the diffuser?

    Or does it actually increase the volume of the diffuser area?

    I can’t pretend to know about these things…, thanks, Andy

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    Rake increases aero downforce…(I think)

    I can’t pretend to know about these things either!

    [Reply]


  81.   81. Posted By: Guy
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 9:37 am 

    Kamui for me but there were many good drives yesterday such as Webber, Vettel, Button, Nick & Di Resta.
    Would like to point out that last year Webber suffered no mechanical retirements at all. This year he’s had a few problems. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes F1 cars go wrong, it doesn’t have to be sabotage.

    [Reply]


  82.   82. Posted By: John
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 9:40 am 

    Its between Webber and Kobayashi for me. James, on a side note…what is your opinion on Alonso being penalized for his collision with Hamilton? In my opinion it is a little odd…because he didn’t damage the car infront of him at all…It was slight contact while trying to overtake (infact both cars moved at the contact) and he already had to come in for a new wing. It seems to me like there are many races where people have some contact and lose part of a front wing…they don’t get penalized at all. What do you think?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I think it’s a shame both were penalised as that’s the kind of racing we want to see. It won’t put them off though, they are both racers.

    [Reply]

    Jason C Reply:

    I agree very much with this, James. It’s very unfortunate that they got penalised. I have yet to watch a replay of why Hamilton got his penalty, but I remember the Alonso incident clearly, and it seems very unfair to punish him for that.

    It wasn’t as if it was just a lunge down the inside of a braking zone – it was a tiny misjudgment that cost him alone. Quite unusual for him to make that kind of misjudgment, too.

    This also creates a headache for the stewards in subesequent races, too, in that they must now be consistent with this penalty for future similar incidents.

    Boo.

    [Reply]


  83.   83. Posted By: Mr Squiggle
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 10:04 am 

    From the choices we have been given by JA, my head says Vettel, but my heart says Nick.

    I know Seb did a start to finish dominant win kind-of-thing, but somehow, I think stepping into a Renault with just a few days notice and taking it to a podium in your second race takes a bit more of an edge than cruising around in the pre-eminent car of the day, even without KERS.

    Also, I’m impressed by the number of people here who have nominated Webber.

    [Reply]


  84.   84. Posted By: Dave
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 10:23 am 

    I like Kobayashi a lot.

    But, while he is excellent value for overtaking and definitely one of the better passers on the grid, his defending is woeful. He basically doesn’t do any, and allows people to pass with ease.

    The good news is that it means he has someone to overtake again, but he really needs to work on that!

    [Reply]

    KinoNoNo Reply:

    The KK philosophy is defending in the end just slows you down.

    What’s the point in nakering your tyres and going off the racing line just to keep one guy behind you, only for three others to jump him in the pitstops.

    [Reply]


  85.   85. Posted By: JP
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 10:51 am 

    I’d give driver of the day to Webber. Storming drive to 4th without KERS and that pass on Massa round the outside was sublime.

    Hey James do you know if Mark had a KERS problem in Q3 or was it just a less than perfect last lap that resulted in Mark’s .2 gap to Seb?

    [Reply]


  86.   86. Posted By: KK
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:29 pm 

    James, I have a question for you regarding Lewis’ drive.

    I’m quite convinced through all these years that Lewis Hamilton doesn’t manage his tyres as well as Button, Raikkonen or Alonso through foregone examples like Turkey 2007. Yes, the Pirellis are still in their infancy stage to perform a postmortem but don’t you think Lewis was never in a position to challenge Seb once the latter got a clean getaway? This is contrary to the pro-Lewis sentiments here which say he was crippled by a bad McLaren strategy. I beg to differ as Lewis was the earliest to pit in each stage underlying how fast the degradation was on his set of Pirellis compared to Button and Vettel.

    Lewis, after Melbourne, was quick to scream that he was better than Vettel in managing his tyres but the evidences you get don’t seem to abide. What’s your take on this? Is Hamilton set to suffer in 2011 because of his erratic style?

    KK

    [Reply]

    jack_faith Reply:

    this has to be one of Lewis’ worst drives. This was a race he should have been challenging Vettel for the win. He looks a bit silly after saying he could manage his tyres better than others.

    However, it should be said, Mclaren pitted him early for strategy, to ensure he was free of traffic not because his tyres were going away from him. I can’t understand Mclaren’s record of going against Lewis’ style and handing him race strategies better suited to his team-mate. This is another day Lewis is thinking, thanks a lot guys you really messed this up, again. Perhaps I’ll be better off elsewhere…. I’m sure the anti-Lewis crew would have loved to hear some of the radio talk between Lewis and his team during the race

    You comfortably outqualify your team-mate and end up over 35 seconds adrift in the race??? Even with Mclaren’s bad calls Lewis should have coped better. Having to pit 3 laps from the end?? Wtf? .Just when you think Lewis is on the cusp of something brillant, i.e. the class driver of the field, he messes it up.

    [Reply]


  87.   87. Posted By: CGM
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 12:47 pm 

    +1 for Webber.
    Good to see some finally see some MW aggression both in the cockpit and in the pit-strategy. If only he could stick it on pole and make a decent start…
    Q. Is MW still in partnership with Horner at MW Arden ? If so, tends to pour a bit of cold water onto the consipracy theorists ! P’haps the true conspiracy is that Horner, Seb and MW are deliberately saying things to get the conspiracy theorists typing about them?

    [Reply]


  88.   88. Posted By: James
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 1:21 pm 

    How in Gods name is Webber not on that list? Kobayashi”s a better drive than Webber? You have to be kidding.

    Brundle tried to tell us Webber bogged in and now JA does not even rate an amazing drive. If Schumacher had of completed the same drive that Webber did yesterday the press would be gushing in their praise. Once again, Webber receives no respect.

    [Reply]


  89.   89. Posted By: KWK
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 1:25 pm 

    The “Driver of the Day” is a tougher choice than it seems. Nick Heidfeld surprised us all with his podium finish despite no retirements from the so called “big boys”- so he would be the obvious choice.

    However, the Lotus Renault team is very strong (ahead of Ferrari even), so I am not sure if this 3rd place finish reflects the least amount of points they deserved. We all are left pondering whether Kubica would have given Vettel a real fight for the win.

    For me the Drive of the Day has to go to Vettel. He had problems with the KERS not working sporadically during the race and consequently had to carry the extra load on the car for a device thats not even functioning.

    He was losing ground to Hamilton in the middle part of the race only to keep his cool. He controlled the race brilliantly- in every way, and I think Webber would have struggled to keep up with him- despite his KERS not working at all,…… but I give Webber a lot of credit for recovering to finish a good 4th place after his inital struggles. But having said that, Vettel was the man to beat

    [Reply]

    Peter C Reply:

    “Vettel had problems with KERS not working sporadically”…..I don’t think that is the case.

    When Hamilton closed to within 4secs of vettel,
    SV immediately opened the gap back to 8secs. Without KERS working?

    The McL KERS was OK but was just not as fast as the RB.

    The message to Vettel from RB about not using the KERS any more was undoubtedly a ‘spoof’ to get McL pushing harder, with the associated tyre & mechanical problems that could bring.

    It is noticeable that when SV & Christian Horner were asked about KERS, separately, they BOTH went into slightly shifty mode !

    [Reply]

    ben2mx Reply:

    “The message to Vettel from RB about not using the KERS any more was undoubtedly a ’spoof’ to get McL pushing harder, with the associated tyre & mechanical problems that could bring.”

    I support that theory.

    [Reply]

    KWK Reply:

    The thought of that the radio message of the KERS not working by RB was a conniving trick to suss their rivals into pushing Vettel harder is a very interesting one- to be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind. I am not going to rule it out, but that would be just pure genius LOL!


  90.   90. Posted By: S2K
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 1:43 pm 

    Heidfeld. Sensational start.

    [Reply]


  91.   91. Posted By: Tim Parry
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm 

    If Red Bull ever figures out their KERS it’s going to be a really long season for everyone else.

    [Reply]


  92.   92. Posted By: Robwal
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:35 pm 

    It’s official, KERS saved Vettel’s race (see link below).
    Without it(KERS), Webber lost his chance to win.
    Mark nailed the fastest lap, while overtaking more drivers than any other in the field.

    http://crash.net/f1/news/168280/1/kers_saved_us_today_admits_vettel.html

    [Reply]


  93.   93. Posted By: john g
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm 

    nick

    no-one seems to mention that he dropped back down to 6th or 7th after a bodged first stop, and fought his way back up by looking after his tyres whilst managing to be consistently quick.

    [Reply]


  94.   94. Posted By: Robwal
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:46 pm 

    Sorry, that last part should read:

    in addition to overtaking more drivers than any other in the field.

    [Reply]


  95.   95. Posted By: Rich C
        Date: April 11th, 2011 @ 5:58 pm 

    @ James – ok, in order to cut back on all the Fanboy complaints about why their guy wasn’t even on the list, why not just list them *all on the Ballot next time?

    That’d make this thread about half as long, and twice as on-point.

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    Can we also include Kubica for the what ifs!

    [Reply]

    Andy c Reply:

    I can’t believe sakon Yamamoto isn’t in the list !

    ;-)

    [Reply]

    dufus Reply:

    Hey Rich, there’s plenty of LH and JB Fanboys here as well. You can take that to the bank.

    [Reply]

    sri Reply:

    I voted for Webber and I want Vettel to win WDC so will this make me Vettel fan-boy or Webber fan-boy or a serious F1 fan? Not every one is illogical not to think well.

    [Reply]


  96.   96. Posted By: Damien (aka Frenchie)
        Date: April 12th, 2011 @ 3:48 am 

    I voted Heidfeld however quite a few drivers would deserve this today: Vettel, Webber, Button and Kobayashi to name a few.

    600 people have chosen this OTHER SPECIFY option. It would be interesting to know what drivers were mentioned.

    [Reply]


  97.   97. Posted By: chris
        Date: April 12th, 2011 @ 10:27 am 

    Schumi for his excellent start ( which he did many times last year ).
    Such a shame Schumacher is wasting the few comeback years that he has left with a pretty hopeless team. Same applies to Nico wasting his talent. Let’s hope somehow they can improve.

    As for Vettel and the ” no Kers ” thing, i suspect that was a little wind up for Mclaren etc, meaning – look how fast we are even without Kers. All the messages to Vettel were coded and the suddenly we have the uncoded Kers message which Vettel later asked them to clarify . Very suspect.

    [Reply]

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