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Turkish Grand Prix – Who was the driver of the day?
Turkish Grand Prix – Who was the driver of the day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 May 2011   |  4:35 pm GMT  |  48 comments

While Sebastian Vettel secured a pole-to-flag victory in Istanbul, it was all-action further down the field with several drivers showing impressive form. Who was your Driver of the Day?

Sebastian Vettel

Crashed heavily in wet conditions during Friday’s first practice and lost valuable running time. However, he recovered impressively in qualifying to secure pole position with just one run, crucially saving an extra set of tyres for Sunday. Made a good start and controlled the race, pitting late on for a fresh set of tyres to cover off his rivals and secure victory. It was his third win out of four this season.

Mark Webber

Started second, but struggled to get away from the dirty side of the grid at the start and lost a place to Rosberg. Managed to pass the German into Turn 12 after five laps and managed the gap to Vettel up front. Had an exciting race long battle with Alonso, eventually coming out on top to secure a Red Bull 1-2 and limit the damage to his championship hopes.

Fernando Alonso

Secured Ferrari’s first podium of the season with an imposing drive to third. After overtaking Rosberg early on, he managed to keep pace with Webber’s Red Bull in second. Passed Webber during the race, but eventually lost out in the closing stages. Nevertheless, an encouraging performance from both driver and team.

Kamui Kobayashi

The Japanese started 23rd after a fuel system problem saw him get knocked out of Q1. Undeterred, Kobayashi pulled off another pulsating drive through the field, rising as high as fifth before eventually coming home 10th. Showed once again that the Sauber is kind to its tyres by making a three-stop strategy work and could have been higher had he not suffered a puncture when clashing with Buemi.

Sebastien Buemi

Starting 16th, the Swiss driver drove a strong race, running as high as seventh before vibrations from his tyres saw him lose two places to the Renaults of Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov in the closing stages. It was his first points finish in Turkey and second of the season to leave him 12th in the drivers’ championship.

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  1. Jesus says:

    Must be Alonso. Fighting with a Red Bull in a Ferrari says it all.

    1. Stevie P says:

      I’m with Jesus… :-) [And I haven't said that for a very long time]

  2. Dino says:

    I’m not a massive fan of Alonso, but he offered the best of the entertainment on the day and clearly out-performed his team mate and so gets my vote.

    Vettel – yawn.
    Webber – given his clear advantage in performance, should have been streets ahead of Alonso, et al.
    Kobayashi – would have loved to see more of him, but there was just too much else going on to cover his overtakes. Nice to see him nominated again, he’s clearly one to watch for future and I hope he gets a decent drive next year (no offense intended to Sauber).
    Buemi – meh.

  3. Jake says:

    I was really impressed by Buemi. Earlier in the race he was running just behind Alguersuari, who he managed to pass and ultimately finish seven places ahead of. That made Buemi one of few drivers to make a three-stop strategy work (Alguersuari made four stops).

    Before the season it looked like Buemi would be the one under threat of being replaced by Ricciardo, but he’s the one scoring all of Toro Rosso’s points at the moment. How long until Alguersuari comes under pressure?

  4. Actually I have to say Massa. The multicorner fight with him and Schumacher and Alguersuari was excellent, high point of the race.

    1. Krishchar says:

      Massa Really funny, and worst driver of the day

      I don’t know why Brits / anti alonso fans are so obsessed with driver like massa and hoping that he can equal or outperform a Genius like alonso. It will never happen

      I like to see alonso pulverize massa everytime he is worst driver i have ever seen in F1 thus far

    2. Wasn’t it Massa the only driver unable to overtake (Rosberg I think) despite the DRS?

      He is bound to be replaced for next year. I’d love to see what Kobayashi would do with that car.

  5. Kamui’s drive from the back of the grid to scoring points was awesome. Surely after this feat his stock in the F1 circles must be on the rise.

    I know this is a complete long shot, but with Peter Sauber’s traditional ties to Ferrari could we see Kobayashi in a Ferrari? It would be interesting if nothing else. I really like Massa, but he seems to be a bit off. I wonder if Kobayashi could do a Friday test session for Ferrari? I don’t even know if that is legal.

    I know there are a lot of promising young drivers on the grid now, and some that aren’t, but Kobayashi is occasionally brilliant.

    1. KinoNoNo says:

      Kamui is in the unfortunate postion that Kubica was in.

      Everybody would love to see him in a truly competitive car but there’s no seats available in the current front runners.

      So we’re left to hope that Sauber is able to use all that Mexican money to rebuild.

      1. Richard D says:

        I don’t see why he can’t be an outside bet for the Red Bull seat when Webber retires/leaves. He seems to be a perfect fit for the Red Bull brand: exciting, approachable and fast. It could open up a huge market in East Asia for the energy drink. Although in a Red Bull he wouldn’t have to overtake very much!

      2. Joe says:

        Totally agree Kino! Kamui stocks will rise by the end of the season but where to from here is anyone’s guess? Having said that Sauber is a team that can move up the grid over the next few years with its funding in place and they do have a very promising driver line up! watch this space as we change to the smaller engine in 2013 we may have a Japanese engine manufacturer again in which case they will head hunt KOB!

  6. Tim Parry says:

    Don’t know if you could call Vettel the driver of the day but Red Bull certainly was the team of the day. Good thing we had DRS or else Turkey would have been a real snoozer.

  7. Jagannath Moorthy says:

    My picks
    1. Kobayashi 23rd to 10th is impressive whichever way you look at it
    2. Alonso: to go from no-hopers to keeping pace with the red bulls is impressive
    3. Vettel:didn’t put a foot wrong after Friday morning, but it’s not that hard when your car is so much ahead of the rest

    1. That would be my top three as well. The fact that Kobayashi had a puncture makes this 10th place even more remarkable.

      In 4th, I would put Buemi who did extremely well too.

  8. Syed says:

    Simple only Fernando!

    1. Krishchar says:

      Yes Syed well said

      If any driver deserves credit, it has to be fernando

      What a performance ! fantastic and scintillating

      Driver of the day / weekend – Alonso

      Enjoyed the turkish grandprix very much

      Alonso’s performance is best of the season thus far. No doubts whatsoever

      I like vettel,however he did what really expected out of him and redbull

      Webber: Should he drive for rest of the season ? Out qualified by Seb by nearly half second. Not even should be in contention.

      Buemi: Drove ok

      Kamui kobayashi: Drove well

  9. brendan says:


    then perhaps buemi. he is really putting his team mate under pressure now

  10. Galapago555 says:

    My pick would be an “ex aequo” Driver of the Day for both Vettel and Alonso.

    Alonso reminded me his performances of the second half of last season: flawless, aggressive, and giving the impression that he is well above his car’s possibilities. I enjoyed his happy face in the podium, and how he replied in the presser, full of confidence towards Barcelona. Fingers crossed for a real Ferrari comeback.

    Vettel – well, it’s easy to say “he can not overtake…” actually he didn’t need it. He cruised from lights to flag. An impressive weekend. By the way, here’s a video where you can check the differences between him and Mark. No comments.

    Now I hope that in the next races we will have more competition among the frontrunners, as McLaren and Ferrari are looking better, and so are Mercedes.

    1. Grant says:

      Thanks for the video link, Galapago555, great to watch – well done.

  11. KinoNoNo says:

    Kamui again for me all things considered.

    When you remember the team had a host of technical problems on his car all weekend,and the Saubers looking down on pace aswell.

    One of the few times we saw a replay of him he was passing Schey with two wheels on the grass,and if it wasn’t for that little love tap with Buemi he might of given Button a hard time in the closing stages.

  12. Paul says:

    I actually expected a lot more from Koby coming from the back with enough sets of fresh tyres.

    Buemi was very impressive. As mentioned above, he has saved himself from the STR mid-season chop at this rate. Whether or not he will be back next year rather than Vergne is another question.

    1. TFLB says:

      Kobayashi lost about 14 seconds because of a puncture. Without that, he could have finished seventh.

  13. Nathan says:

    James, do you think Kobayashi has a reasonable chance of getting into maybe a Renault next year?

    He won’t go to Mercedes because they want di Resta at some point, and I can’t quite see him at Ferrari or Red Bull.

    But surely it’s time for one of the bigger teams to give him a call? I’d love to see him in a Renault, hopefully alongside Kubica!

    1. James Allen says:

      I’d love to see him in a car like the Renault. Sauber is quite good this year, though. Certainly in race trim, easy on its tyres.

    2. Richard D says:

      I posted above that he could be an outside bet for the Red Bull seat when Webber retires/leaves. He seems to be a perfect fit for the Red Bull brand: exciting, approachable and fast. It could open up a huge market in East Asia for the energy drink. Although in a Red Bull he wouldn’t have to overtake very much!

    3. Koby Fan says:

      Although Renault is a realistic seat for Koby, I actually think Sauber/Koby/Perez combination will outperform Petrov/Heidfeld/Renault in 2nd half of the season. Carlos Slim will want his hard earned pesos to move Sauber/Escuderia Telmex to the business end of the grid.

      Like a lot of other readers, it would be great to see how Koby would perform with one of the bigger teams but I doubt if those seats will open up his way (at least not for the next 2 seasons):

      Ferrari – Unlikely although Koby doing a seat swap with Massa and taking the No.27 would be a dream (I think Ferrari would like Webber’s Red Bull knowledge & development skills).

      McLaren – no chance; Hammy and Button are good pairing so no changes for next few seasons.

      Mercedes – only if Schumi & Rosberg moved; I’d be surprised if Rosberg moved; If Schumi goes probably ex-DTM’s di Resta or Webber take the seat.

      Red Bull – be surprised if they would drop a non-Red Bull driver alongside Vettel. No chance if Webber stays on.

      So looks like Webber will shape the drivers market…

      As for Turkey GP, Buemi was the one who probably outperformed on expectations. The others – Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Koby lived up to their reputations.

      1. BMG says:

        Red Bull have the current formala 3 champion as a reseve driver. So why look elsewere.

  14. TRM says:

    Long time reader of the excellent blog but first time commenter, prompted to write in due to the results of the above vote.

    I am baffled how anyone can vote for Kobayashi over Buemi, let alone how anyone can describe Buemi’s performance as “meh”. Buemi started only two places nominally ahead of Kobayashi (if you discount the back six which are still 1s per lap behind the midfield for now) and Buemi had two less sets of fresh Option tyres than Kobayashi.

    Despite all that, Buemi was ahead of the Renaults entering the latter stages of the race, an astonishing fact given the speed differential between the cars and was within 10 seconds of Jenson Button who was on the same strategy.

    Kobayashi appears to have achieved votes purely on name value and a great, great drive from Buemi is being overlooked – perhaps due to the fact that there was so much “action” going on elsewhere?

  15. Rodolfo says:

    Alonso. His lap times were most of the time the same than the Red Bulls, and that is a massive achievement.

  16. Rich C says:

    It was *my guy, ofc! The rest of yas are just wishing!

  17. Mark J says:

    I had a dream last night where there was 24 Kobayashi’s on the grid and it was the craziest race of all time!

  18. F1Fan4Life says:

    Alonso, of course. Would love to see Kobayashi in a more competitive car but to be honest Perez and Di Resta are both looking impressive also.

    James, two questions. It seems to me like some of the rookies are doing significantly better this year in comparison to their team mates…even Petrov is looking good. Do you think there is a reason for that? I wonder if it has something to do with current technology…

    Also, do you believe, based on this performance, or do you have knowledge as to whether Ferrari have figured out the issue with their wind tunnel? This was the main problem according to them, so it would be good to know if it has been fixed.

    1. James Allen says:

      Probably trying harder

  19. JB says:

    Got to be Alonso to my mind. He’s dragging so much out of the Ferrari like Kubica did in the Renault last season. On paper the Ferrari’s not capable of mixing it with the Red Bulls.

    It says a lot about current F1 that there was so much action going on that we didn’t see that much of Kobayashi. A year ago a charge like that would have been most of the action in the race.

  20. Monkian says:

    Vettel – a class apart. His performance compared to Webber is testament to his quality. He was untouchable in this weekend.

    I don’t really understand all the love for Alonso myself. He has been up there with Webber all season pace wise, particularly in the races where the Ferrari has been pretty quick. The only reason there is the perception that he has been really slow is due to him getting it wrong off the start and compromising his race by getting stuck behind Massa, who then gets the prime strategy calls. Ferrari haven’t been too great at them either. If he had beaten Webber he would be up there for best performance. But he didn’t, so he isn’t.

    1. Krishchar says:

      Your comment does not have any logic

      Ferrari is good 8tenths to 1 second slower than Redbull in Quali

      Then in Racepace ferrari are only third quickest behind Redbull and mclaren on par with mercedes

      Alonso’s magical hand and talent is far bigger than ferrari’s pace and team

      If there is any driver who can drive a F1 car beyond it’s niggles at 200 %. It is Fernando Alonso only (Genius and Great)

      I presume you are (anti-alonso) fan

      He fought with a (Rocket ship RB7) in a ferrari, overtook and held position until a driver named Webber used fresh sets at last stint and then passed alonso in a RB7

      His performance in turkish Gp is best of the season thus far

      Best race 2011 season thus far Turkey

  21. Rishi says:

    Voted for Fernando Alonso; Ferrari have made a step forward, but I still feel he transcended the car on race day in being up there with the Red Bulls.

    All five drivers did very well and deserve credit but most underrated drive of the day has to be Sebastien Buemi for me; I’m surprised that there was barely a murmur about him in the BBC’s extensive post-race coverage, although in fairness we didn’t see too much of him during the race.

  22. mtb says:

    Torn between Alonso and Buemi. The latter’s late race drop off tips the scales towards the former IMHO.

  23. dufus2 says:

    Mark Webber, another great drive.
    Lots of love here for Alonso but he has a competitive car from a race pace point of view now so he should be up the front.

    1. Krishchar says:

      Mark Webber should have been miles ahead of him, with presumably better car

      Ferrari is good 8tenths to 1 second slower than Redbull in Quali

      Then in Racepace ferrari are only third quickest behind Redbull and mclaren on par with mercedes

      Alonso’s magical hand and talent is far bigger than ferrari’s pace and team

      If there is any driver who can drive a F1 car beyond it’s niggles at 200 %. It is Fernando Alonso only (Genius and Great)

      He fought with a (Rocket ship RB7) in a ferrari, overtook and held position until a driver named Webber used fresh sets at last stint and then passed alonso in a RB7

    2. Krishchar says:

      Mark webber – Should he drive for rest of the season ?

      When seb crashed in FP1 everyone thought there is chance for webber to take pole

      However when it mattered Seb showed is mettle once again

      Clearly out qualified webber by nearly half second

      Than again in race after passing rosberg webber was not able to put the hammer down on Seb

      Webber got thrashed by Sebastian vettel for nearly 2 and half season thus far and worst thing is webber did agree himself beating Seb is proving to be difficult task for him

      Love for Alonso is correct (Genius and Great racing driver of this generation)

      Your love towards webber (no logic and joke)

  24. Mark says:

    Hi James! I think Sebastian Vettel was definitely a class on his own… With all the KERS, New Pirelli Tyres and DRS, we’ve seen a lot of action but what is scary is all of these doesn’t include Sebastian most of the time. It’s getting to a point he might just run away with the championship! All these Overtaking Enhancements are just gonna be for second place which shouldn’t be the case. What do you think?

  25. BMG says:

    Has to be Alonso, I wounder if he will be with Ferrari next year? From what I’m hearing Ferrari are not to keen on the 1.6 ltr turbo’s. Renault would be the team to drive for with there history with Turbo’s.

  26. It’s gotta be Alonso, I think. He offered very competitive pace, whilst Mark Webber should have been miles ahead of him, with presumably better car. Very nice race overall, as I stated before in another article, I wish it was wet, but it was still intriguing. I hope that someone will really start to push Vettel, as his advantage becomes more and more visible.
    Does anyone knows what the team told Alonso over the radio in Italian ? Perhaps they agreed on four stops, rather than three ? I couldn’t hear it on the TV.

  27. Mike says:

    It was a good race and certainly some overtaking and very spitited and close driving by some. DRS had a big impact in Turkey.

    Ferrari may be getting better and Alonso drove well. Fastest lap of the race used to have more importance in the past, it seems to me. Mark Webber has had a few of those this year but the information is often not reported.

  28. Mr Squiggle says:

    A late vote from me – Vettel

    A pole to flag performance and he only needed one practice session to get it done.

    If that doesn’t get driver of the day, then we are all getting a little bit jaded

  29. JohnBt says:

    F E R N A N D O A L O N S O

  30. dominoes says:

    It’s kind of silly how we cannot see Kobayashi’s overtakes and puncture as it wasn’t televised. The viewers can only see highlights of what was shown on the TV and nothing more. I know there is so much going on in the race this season so it’s hard to look at what everything so it would make sense for viewers to see what has happened elsewhere on the track.


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