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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Nov 2011   |  12:58 pm GMT  |  130 comments

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took his third victory of the season as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel crashed out in an intriguing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina. So who was your driver of the day?

Lewis Hamilton

Began the weekend strongly, topping the times in second and third practice as his McLaren team had some trouble-free running. Set the quickest time in qualifying, albeit in Q2 when times don’t count for pole, and finished second quickest after getting edged out by Vettel. Made a clean getaway and benefitted from Vettel’s puncture at the start to take the lead. Was closed down by Alonso in the first stint but came out in front after the first stops and from there controlled the race. It was his third win of the season and 17th of his career.

Fernando Alonso

Was fifth, third and fifth fastest in the first three practice sessions respectively before out-qualifying his team-mate Massa by over half a second to start fifth. Made three places on the opening lap courtesy of Vettel’s misfortune and solid passes on Webber and Button. Kept pace with Hamilton in the first two stints but got baulked by a HRT coming into the pits at the final round of stops and was unable to jump Hamilton. Struggled for pace on the harder tyre in the final stint but held on for second to score his 10th podium of the season and close the gap to second-placed Jenson Button in the drivers’ standings to 10 points.

Jenson Button

Topped the times in the opening practice session but lacked the pace to match team-mate Hamilton in the next two. Delivered a storming lap in qualifying to finish 0.009secs behind Hamilton. Starting third, he lost a place to Alonso on the first lap before a KERS problem hampered his progress. Managed the problem for the rest of the race and held off a charging Webber to finish third and score his 11th podium of the season.

Mark Webber

For his overtaking as much as anything! Qualified fourth but lost a position to Alonso at the start. Ran a net fourth after team-mate Vettel’s retirement. Was glued to the back of Button’s gearbox but could not make a move stick. A problem at the first stop saw him lose time leading to the team moving him onto a three-stop strategy. Was very fast in the closing stages before pitting with one lap to go for the harder compound tyres and went on to finished fourth.

Nico Rosberg

Started the weekend by announcing a multi-year contract extension to his Mercedes’ contract. Out-qualified team-mate Schumacher for the 15th time this season but dropped behind him at the start. Held his nerve to take the position back with a brave move before comfortably pulling away. Managed his tyres well and had good battles with Webber and Button to finish fifth, just two seconds behind Massa. He is now seven points ahead of Schumacher in the drivers’ standings with one race remaining.

Kamui Kobayashi

A disappointing qualifying session saw him finish 16th fastest, five places behind Sauber team-mate Sergio Perez. Made up five places on the opening lap but lost three of those as he struggled for pace on the harder compound tyre. Found some speed when he switched to the softs and fought his way up the field, passing Perez for 10th. It was his first points finish in seven races and helped Sauber inch ahead of Toro Rosso in the battle for seventh pace n the constructors’ championship.

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130 Comments
  1. Alex_D says:

    Alonso is the driver of the day, but Ferrari is not the team of the day!

    1. wayne says:

      Yes I agree with that. Alonso was magnificent this weekend. You do get the impression that LH had a bit in hand but then he did fluff Q3 as his Q2 time would have put him on pole (I think this should be driver of the weekend by the way not driver of the day). It’s a combination, usually, of Sat and Sun that wins the day.

      1. Alex_D says:

        With all honesty, Hamilton’s win is a bit overrated this weekend. Think about it.
        1. He had the pace to take Pole and he lost it
        2. Vettel was out of the race – the number 1 nemesis was not in contention
        3. Button had KERS problems and couldn’t challenge him

        The only thing he had to do was to not make any mistake and try not to lose it to Alonso who was definitely overdriving his car.

        Doesn’t look like a drive of the day for me.

  2. KB says:

    Hamilton was solid from start to finish, a well controlled race, very Vettel-esque in that respect but for Button to fend off Webber and finish on the podium with his problems with KERS and brake balance is mega. Just pips Hamilton for driver of the day for me.

    1. Lee says:

      It’s a tough choice, but I agree – Button keeping Webber behind for so many laps despite not having KERS and being DRS’d lap after lap was very, very impressive – even more so when he lost the space on 1 occasion and then got it back in the next DRS zone.

      I’m not normally a fan of Alonso, but he would have been my 2nd choice. Massa looked like he was in a different class of car.

      Hamilton was mighty all weekend, which made his achievement on Sunday look less impressive – even though he didn’t put a foot wrong all race.

      It’s not fair on him to think that way, but I doubt he’ll care as he got the win to equal Button’s 1st places for the season, 25 points and most importantly, positive momentum to carry forwards….

  3. Very hard to choose between Lewis and Fernando. Voted Hamilton by virtue of the win.

    Kobayashi might even deserve it more but with hardly any coverage, it’s hard to tell. Just glad to see there is still something at stake in Brazil with the Sauber vs. Toro Rosso duel.

    1. Lux says:

      By the way, Kobay recorded the 4th fastest lap of the day!

  4. build says:

    James,
    Do you Heikki Kovalainen was perhaps better than those you listed?

    1. Andy says:

      Agree with some of the other comments. Hamilton was solid and did the job. Alonso however did out perform his car once again so would give him driver if the day, consistently fast and had to do a couple of great overtakes on the first lap. Good drives by Kovalainen and Barrichello too in my humble opinion too.

      1. Parisian Bob says:

        The mention of Rubino prompts me to say to KR fans “hold tight, the signs are encouraging”
        James, can you please confirm that the Robinsons spent the weekend with Sir FW and the Williams team, and does that piece of news in itself indicate anything?

      2. James Allen says:

        I cannot confirm that, I didn’t see it. But they were there in force after a long absence from the paddock, so I cannot imagine they were there for the Fat Boy Slim concert!

    2. Andy says:

      I have to agree with you, Heikki beat his team mate by over a minute after completely destroying him in the quali. If anyone outperformed his car, it was him.

    3. DMyers says:

      Kovalainen has driven so many impressive races this year and I think his race was top drawer yesterday. He deserved much better than to finish 17th.

  5. Andrew J says:

    Delighted for Hamilton, well done Alonso, but Button deserves respect for coping with a dodgy KERS system. Really close to call, but Alonso gets my vote.

    1. Joel says:

      Button lost his KERS at-about lap 13th and got it back by lap 33.
      Not sure what you guys are talking about how amazing he drove? He lost a place to Alonso when he had NO trouble and was way off the pace in softs – he himself said that. May be his Kers problem was a result of him driving so slow :)

      1. Doug says:

        Yes Jenson was fractionaly slower than both LH & Alonso up until he had his KERS glitch, but Jenson usualy is a little slower early in a race as he’s always protecting his tyres in observation mode…he always seems to find pace through the race.

        I was overjoyed to see Lewis win again & Alonso did well, but Button has to be driver of the day. For a driver who hates imbalance coping with a KERS issue whilst driving wheel to wheel with Webber & Massa was awe inspiring. I was watching his sectors on the live timing & he was pushing through sector 3 to regain a margin before the big straights.

      2. Joel says:

        If you have to choose the driver of the day based on how they cope with a malfunctioning equipment or an under-powered equipment they were given – you should look down the field. At least, Button had the best “car of the day” to drive.
        Most of the time (as someone mentioned before) the “driver of the day” simply boils down to “your favorite driver”.

      3. Andrew J says:

        He only got it back intermittently, for maybe a couple of laps at a time. he had to keep resetting it. this meant that for most of the race he couldn’t be sure what to expect when he applied the brakes. Imagine trying to reset the clock in your car whilst driving along a twisty route averaging 150 mph and see how you get on, especially if you have to keep doing it every four or five miles…

        I don’t dispute the fact that he had KERS when he lost the place to Alonso. I (and it would seem others) think he deserves credit for keeping third place ahead of cars which were still KERS-equipped and more predictable to drive.

  6. Paul W says:

    Close between Alonso and Hamilton but went for Alonso mainly due to his bravery on the first corner round outside of Webber. Then picking up the perfect tow on Button to take second, before displaying great driving to maintain position for rest of lap. While Hamilton showed his strengths in qualifying, and stayed out of trouble, he was handed first place by Vettel’s demise.

    Great drive from both, but Alonso’s ability to endlessly out-perform his car is staggering! A lot of (mainly anit-Alonso naysayers) like to take shots at Alonso’s claim of bringing extra time to a team, but he does consistently seem to be in a team with the fastest starts off the grid!? I remember the Renault was lightening off the grid.

    1. JR says:

      Couldn’t agree more

  7. Jon says:

    Tough call this one, was between Hamilton and Alonso, voted Hamilton, as think he had the pace to hold of Alonso. Alonso had a stunning drive in an under perfoming Ferrari to hold onto 2nd. Never really challenged for the lead, and I’m sute Lewis would have had more pace if needed.

  8. Dave says:

    Lewis or Fernando for me. I’ll go for Lewis if only because it was a drive he very much needed after a hard couple of weeks.

    Great start from Alonso and strong pace throughout the race, too.

  9. Danny says:

    Who’s voting for Hamilton?

    I get that he won and was on form and had to hold off Alonso for a whil (etc) but it was a very typical “Vettel” type win where there wasn’t much challenging him!

    1. James Allen says:

      You don’t think Alonso challenged him?

      1. Danny says:

        I think he certainly pushed him but that’s about it.

      2. Danny says:

        When you look at Buttons drive, he did a much better job – making up a place, keeping Webber behind him despite being challenged hard and handling the KERS issue.

      3. OJP says:

        Button didn’t make up a place, he lost it to Alonso.

      4. JR says:

        You mean better that Alonso? Let me remind you that Button was overtaken my Alonso who started 5th during the first lap thanks to a superb move.

      5. Danny says:

        OJP, JR – I’m not trying to argue that Button had a better race than Alonso.

        I’m trying to make the point that Hamilton shouldn’t be voted DOD simply because he won from the front without too much pressure.

      6. StallionGP F1 says:

        I think if Vettel won that race in the same manner he wont be driver of the day as this is just about who you like as a driver.
        Also Alonso whats the big deal dere his times were comparable to the mclarens so it means hes out performing the car no simply put the mclaren was cruising and when lewis needed to up his game he did so made alonso look close thats the difference with Vettel he demoralizes his pursuer hence they throw in the towel early.

      7. Phil says:

        Agree with the first part of your comment 100%
        Has Vettel even won a DoD poll this year?

    2. JF says:

      Agree:

      This has been a bee in my bonnet all year. Hamilton got voted driver of the day for delivering, in the fastest car this weekend, exactly the type of performance that Vettel has done time and time again all year long. Vettel has not been remotely close to winning the driver of the day all year long. Had Vettel been on track, and Hamilton still won, I would say Hamilton deserved this. Button was better again.[mod]

      1. Danny says:

        Agreed RE Vettel being on track and Hamilton winning.

  10. chris says:

    Alonso for me. Always seems on it and always stays out of trouble.
    Interesting that much is made of Schumacher being a mere 7 points behind Rosberg.
    Webber is an incredible 141 points behind Vettel.

    1. Aaron95 says:

      And Massa is 137 points behind Alonso.

      Those gaps are huge and surely should be of concern to the respective team managers.

      1. TheLegend says:

        This gap is even more impressive if you take on account that Fernando has scored more than 70% of the points Ferrari has this year. I wonder if something like this has ever happened in Ferrari with two drivers completing the whole season.

      2. Midnight Toper says:

        Agreed the points ratio contribution by team mates are interesting. Understandably ratio’s from low scoring teams, show a distorted view, but it does highlight how poorly Massa, Buemi and Webber have performed, and how even Schumacher / Rosberg & Hamilton Button have been.
        Barrichello 80.0%
        Alonso 69.4%
        Kobayashi 66.7%
        Alguersuari 63.4%
        Vettel 61.6%
        Sutil 59.6%
        Button 52.9%
        Rosberg 52.2%
        Petrov 50.0%

        James, this year Schumacher kept the odd number even though Rosberg beat him in the 2010 standings. Will Button receive the odd number for 2012 or does Hamilton have a contractual clause as per Schumacher?

      3. James Allen says:

        Good question. Will find out

    2. HFEVO2 says:

      It pains me to say it but Mark and Massa are essentially in the same situation this year.

      It’s clear that Mark is not the same driver as last year for him to be so far behind Seb in the same car.

      With so many drivers effectively in the Red Bull stable ( including a certain Finn whose rally program they have been sponsored for the last two seasons ), I am very surprised that Mark is being retained for 2012. Ditto Massa.

      I can’t see Kimi back at Ferrari but surely of those drivers available, he should be the No 1 choice for the second Red Bull seat ?

      James, apart from Mark being already signed, is there anything that disqualifies Kimi from getting a seat at RBR ?

      1. James Allen says:

        Webber is there for 2012. If Kimi flies in 2011 then there may be a path there. He is good friends with Vettel and has Red Bull DNA.

        It wouldn’t help Dr Marko’s staircase of talent much so it would depend on who wins the political battle behind the scenes and convinces Mateschitz.

  11. Marko says:

    I think that Jenson needs a bit more kudos for the way he managed a technical fault and still kept his position. If he had a fully functioning car he may have even been able to catch Fernando. It reminded me of Schumacher, who was also able to drive around major technical faults, whilst still driving competitively.

    1. Jeb Hoge says:

      Agreed, JB pipped the vote for me by not only taking a podium place but by doing it with an erratically functioning car, while keeping the position from a charging Webber. Kept his head and did the job.

    2. Dave Deacon says:

      +1

    3. herowassenna says:

      Like Alonso in Malaysia 2010? When his Ferrari had a malfunctioning gearbox, started from the back of the grid, caught and passed alot of the grid and made Massa look slow, who was driving a perfectly healthy Ferrari.

      1. danish says:

        Alonso’s problem in Malaysia 2010 was far more worse, driving without KERS in normal ask redbull and any other drivers, i think they all had issues with their KERS at some stage.

        James, how do you rate JB KERS issue with FA gear issue in Malaysia 2010?

      2. James Allen says:

        I think you’re probably right

  12. AJW says:

    I’d like to put a nod in for the younger Aussie in the HRT. Absolutely dominated Liuzzi and kept Glock honest for a lot of the race.

    Seen a rumour that apparently RB aren’t as happy with Dan’s performances at HRT as they’d hoped – any truth to that? Sitting on the sidelines I’d have thought he’s been doing everything he was asked: namely beating Liuzzi, and comfortably at that.

  13. Paul Jones says:

    Alonso’s ability to extracate every ounce of performance from what is not the most conpetative car on the grid as well as finishing a very close second as he gained on Hamilton is proof to me that he’s the top man out there.

    1. Richard says:

      There’s no doubt that Alonso is a very capable and determined driver extracting all there is to extract from the car. That said a lot depends on the characteristics of the car, and the Ferrari is very kind to the soft tyres allowing him to have longer/harder stints on them and therefore attempt to catch Hamilton on the undercut, but it was never going to happen. Hamilton controlled the gap perfectly but had to be very careful not to take too much out of his own soft tyres and once they were both on the medium compound tyres it any chance Alonso had of catching him evaporated as the gap steadily widened to the finish.

      1. Paul Jones says:

        Yes, I recall Fernando mentioning that a win was never going to be possible but he was very happy with second. Good to see him really go for it and how he kept Hamilton on his toes to the end was great racing and they crossed the line with small margin between them. I’m hoping the Ferraris are stronger next season as I suspect they’re closer now to getting a very good package for 2012.:-)

  14. Matthew says:

    It’s a tough one not to give driver of the day to Lewis, as he drove a great race but Fernando Alonso had no right to give him such a hard time – an amazing performance.

    Alonso continues to show why he’s the best out there in my opinion. His complement to Lewis on Friday was great to hear. I really think Seb would find himself up against it in equal machinery against those two.

    Maybe one day we’ll see!

  15. **Paul** says:

    Easy this one, Alonso. Massively out performed his car and kept a very fast McLaren in sight for much of the race. Huge credit goes to him for that, he simply drives the wheels off that car.

    I may have given DOD to Lewis if he’d beaten Seb over a race distance (which he may well have done as the McLaren was the car to have in Abu Dhabi – the one with KERS anyhow), but he didn’t and whilst that’s not his fault it’s like winning a tennis Tournament whilst Djokovic is injured.

  16. RedFive says:

    Even as a Lewis Hamilton fan I have to admit that Alonso was mighty yesterday. How anyone could vote for anyone else is beyond me.

    1. AlexD says:

      Agree….but read what people say: ” i vote for hamilton because he needed this win…”
      Nobody said that hamilton outperformed the car…and all people will agree that this is what alonso has done again.
      Clearly he is the driver of the day….

    2. Rob says:

      Looked to me like Hamilton had Alonso under control. That victory resembled some of Vettel’s from earlier in the season, Lewis just made sure he was far enough in front of Alonso to be out of DRS range, and concentrated on preserving fuel and tyres to avoid any late-race drama.

      1. RedFive says:

        Hamilton did have Alonso under control, but that’s not the point. The point is that the Ferrari had no business being where Alonso managed to get it, let alone stay there. HD even managed to pile on a little pressure by the second stops!
        Don’t get me wrong. I wad more than happy to see Hamilton win, he deserved it. But as for driver of the day, for me, there can only be one candidate. And that’s Alonso.

  17. Andrew Carter says:

    Has to be Lewis really, was very quick all weekend and showed an ability to control his races that has been lacking at times this year.

    Special mention to Alonso for another great drive to keep Hamilton honest.

  18. Nando says:

    Fernando Alonso.
    Fernando gets it mainly for his superb stat, 2nd place was almost handed to him by Button’s problem although on the first stint Button had already lost significant time to Hamilton.
    Hamilton’s drive was a carbon copy of many Vettel’s this season just doing enough which may of flattered Alonso slightly.

  19. Josh says:

    Alonso, with an honorable mention for Kovalainen.

    On another note, does Renault feel they made the right choice dumping Heidfeld for Senna? If performance is the reason that they claim, Senna has been ultra disappointing. Or is it the financial aspect more than performance since Renault can’t afford development?

  20. HansB says:

    Seriously, the outcome should be Alonso #1. I can understand some people might not like him but one can not deny his performance yesterday… or the season for that matter. It seems though, some people like to find a reason not to vote for him as a driver of the day…..
    In an underperforming car he manages to jump 3 places at the start and seriously threaten Hamilton before a blocking HRT and the Ferrari pit crew blew his hopes for victory away.

    I take it that he might not have won the race as the Ferrari is no good at all on the harder compound…
    But the difference to Massa shows it all.

    1. Paul Jones says:

      Good point there. If that Ferrari were a fraction more competative Alonso would have won. I was very impressed at how heseemed more than able to keep Button a good distance away and close in on Hamilton despite the Ferrari not being at its best. Its a long shot but I hope he wins in Brazil, though I suspect that would be Vettel.

    2. James Martin says:

      Yes, it was a great drive from Alonso, especially after his pace in practise and quali. Perhaps he was sandbagging?

      Still think Kobayashi should be no.1 in the poll, he drove through the field from 16th, making up 5 places on the 1st lap.

      One last thought – will Massa stay at Ferrari next year? He’s looked woeful at times this year, and his mistake yesterday at the hairpin that let Webber through, plus his driving in India highlight the pressure he’s under. Perhaps Ferrari will do a swap for one of the Sauber drivers for next year?

      1. Paul Jones says:

        I hope Massa does sort out his issues and stays at Ferrari. When e performs, he’s terrific. When he does’nt, he’s near nowhere. I sincerely hope it works out for the Brazilian.

      2. herowassenna says:

        I have been following F1 and Ferrari since the 70′s.
        Massa doesn’t belong at Ferrari, he never did, yes he looked good against Kimi, but injury or not, Alonso was going to destroy him when he joined.
        Barrichello and Massa should never have been Ferrari drivers
        Villeneuve, Alesi, Mansell, Prost, Schumacher and Alonso have all been brilliant Ferrari drivers, a shame Senna never signed for Ferrari. My God, that would have been heaven on earth.
        But IMO, Alonso is the greatest driver since Senna. He’s the only one who actually beat Schumacher in his prime.

      3. Paul Jones says:

        I found Massa a strong driver prior to his accident and a botched pit stop in Singapore cost him the title in the end, but if he were to go, Ferrari don’t have any great alternatives on the grid. Some good names you mentioned of former Ferrari drivers. I’d definately add Pironi-really wish he had won the 1982 season.

  21. Jack Randall says:

    As much as I was delighted to see Lewis win and be on the top step I can’t help but admire Fernando’s performance. If the Ferrari is where we think it is then Fernando should have finished behind Jenson and Mark, Jenson did have KERS issues to take note of but still. I would have enjoyed more of a battle for the lead between Lewis and Fernando like the good old days.

  22. Vickyy says:

    I am surprised by inclusion of Webber and exclusion of Sutil in that list. IMHO, he had a cracking race.
    This show how underrated that guy is!!

  23. Rob Newman says:

    We hardly saw Kobayashi on the tele but he did a fantastic race behind the scene. My vote goes for him.

    McLaren had the best car the whole weekend. After qualifying, Alonso said they are only half a second behind the pole time and could chalenge in the race. But Hamilton and Alonso hardly did anything impressive. Hamilton was not challenged by Alonso. Hamilton was just looking after his tyres and pushed when needed. I don’t think the HRT cost Alonso more than a second.

    I feel sorry for Webber. If he doesn’t win in Brazil, this will be his worst year in F1. I am sure Vettel would have definetely won this race if it was not for the tyre failure.

  24. Ben says:

    Simple, Alonso. Actually he’s been amazing pretty much all season. Given he’s in the 3rd fastest car he should be nowhere near 2nd in the championship, stunning performance.

  25. Paul H says:

    On the face of it this is a difficult one as several drivers had superb races for different reasons. For me it was close call between Hamilton and Alonso, but I went with Alonso as I feel he really did prove how much a driver can outperform the car.

    Hamilton didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend and always had something in the bag if needed, but the McL was always stronger than the Ferrari. Well with KERS it was, really good drive from Button with so many issues. Would be good to see a breakdown of a lap with all the adjustments and effects of the KERS not functioning.

    Don’t see why Webber is in the list, he drove solidly but nothing to warrant driver of the day. He showed a lot of speed towards the end but was on faster tyres so no surprise there. I’d have Kovi above him in the driver of the day listings.

    Think Maldonado gets chump of the day for distinct lack of race craft.

    1. Andy H says:

      Petrov had a good go at chump of the day as well.

  26. James encore says:

    It pains me slightly to vote for Alonso, but he got (another) great start, put a good move on Button to get second and out drove his car to mean that he nearly pinched the lead at the last stop and would have done had there been any error from Hamilton (Who, I notice, he was being complinentary about)
    Hamilton didn’t put a wheel wrong all race, and drove in a beautifully measured way, but once Vettel had gone off he could only lose the race. Nice to see him back to his old self.
    Honourable mentions to Button and Webber for their duel and for putting in decent drives when things were against them. And Barrichello for making up so many places after sitting out qualifying – he’s spent so much time in the pits this year I hear the Chillean miners have sent him a message of support.

    1. PNWBrit says:

      Why on earth would it pain you?

      1. Andy H says:

        Because of his history when challenged from within his own team and the dirty guts attitude he takes when this happens. The season with Maclaren did his reputation no favours, Then his ‘ways’ of asserting the No1 status over Massa, there really was no need for those sort of tricks and petulance.
        You asked, and in doing so have probably opened a can of worms.

      2. PNWBrit says:

        I thought it might actually have something to do with how he drove his racing car at this race…… which was again… quite brilliantly.

      3. Gerald says:

        His time with McLaren was four years ago and both Alonso and Hamilton have put it behind them. I used to dislike Alonso a lot as well, but hes changed quite a bit as the 2011 season progressed and hes definitely a lot more modest than he was before.

      4. Nige says:

        Time to move on from all that. See it for what it was a very one sided story reported by the british press. I’m sure there was a power struggle as there is in every team every day and with all drivers. The fact is if Montoya had remained at mclaren and the same thing happened nobody would have cared. Senna is everybody’s hero at the Moment but you can bet he used every trick in book.
        The thing I care about is what happens on the track.! Alonso is driving the wheels of that lame duck of a Ferrari god help them if he gets a good car.

      5. James encore says:

        Much as Andy H put it.
        I’ve found Alonso in the past to be unsporting and unable to overtake… this season he has made some really good overtaking moves and some of the things he has been saying in interviews recently shows a more pleasant side of him.
        Compare that with Massa who conducted himself with such digity after being pipped for the championship and had everyone’s sympathy after his accident. Now he’s just a whining under-performer.

        It’s a rare person who *likes* changing their views.

        Since I tend to shout for the British driver in any-team-but-Ferrari seeing Hamilton drive a flawless race and say “but he wasn’t driver of the day” isn’t the most natural thing.

        So for *me* to vote for Fernando says it was an especially good drive.

  27. DP says:

    Sorry, but simply benefiting from a 2XWDC’s misfortune doesn’t make you driver of the day IMO.

    In qualifying the Ferrari’s showed themselves to be (on average) inferior to the McLarens by 8 tenths.

    Driver of the day is a no-brainer. FA by far

  28. Mark A Ross says:

    How about Paul di Resta? Started 10th finished 9th but had to deal with a terrible strategy. If he had the same strategy as his team mate he could of been further up the field.

  29. Glenn says:

    Straight up, Alonso. No brainer.

  30. tri says:

    Vettel was gone and suddenly all other drivers hog the limelight. Shows his dominance the whole year!

  31. Andy C says:

    I’d say Alonso was the driver of the day for me. And thats despite two strong races from the two McLaren boys.

    He continues to wring every last ounce out of that car, and at times I wonder whether felips performance is more equal to the performance of that car?

    Notable drive actually from Rubens as well. Strong race. I really hope for a Williams revival next year. As do a lot of long time followers in the sport.

  32. Stuart Harrison says:

    I’m definitely a Hamilton supporter and while I don’t think anyone deserves the title of DoD, I voted for Alonso for clearly out-driving his Ferrari on the way to a 2nd place that looked frankly unachievable from his qualifying position.

    I think if Vettel had stayed on the road, it would have been another relatively dull Grand Prix and only Webber providing any serious on-track action from the top teams.

    As it was, pretty much everyone was faultless aside from some very wide back-markers. :) The double-DRS seemed to hurt racing as any pass that happened on the main straight was immediately cancelled out on the support pit straight.

    Nice to see someone other than Vettel win for a change…

  33. JR says:

    For me Fernando Alonso without any kind of doubt, once again outperforming his car to beat rivals with superior machinery.

  34. Khan says:

    Surely has to be Alonso. What a competitor he is, absolutely relentless. Love him or hate him, he is the best driver on the grid and for me clearly better then Vettel & Hamilton.

  35. Henrik says:

    What should Sutil do to get recognition? He was best of the rest and hounding Schumacher. Even more mindblowing to think this guy is going to be without F1 seat next year!

  36. Alex_D says:

    Just read an article from Domenicali. Probably the story that James explain yesterday after talking to the team: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96221

    The real problem is different though and I will explain it:
    1. Alonso was closing on Hamilton before the first pit stop and after the first pit stop the distance was again much bigger, he had to chase him again
    2. The pitted Alonso one lap too late during the first pit stop. On the last lap Hamilton was already quicker on the harder tyre, which was not the case the lap earlier.

    They needed to pit Alonso one lap earlier because he was quicker. Now we know that there would have been no HRT and assuming that the pit stop was as fast as the one from Hamilton, they could have challenged Hamilton.

    Domenicali doesn’t seem to get it – why on earth a driver should drive every lap in a qualifying trim knowing that the time he gained will be easily lost in pit stops?!
    Motivating, isn’t it?

    Another problem with Domenicali – he doesn’t speak like a winner. He is saying that it is unlikely that Alonso would have won. Who knows? Who cares? You need to try and give you absolute maximum. Alonso has done it. Did Domenicali do it?

  37. Tim Parry says:

    Shucks! give to Hamilton. Now he can breathe again.

  38. Ginger says:

    Fernando, kept Lewis honest ad that was a big ask given the pace of his car. He is making Massa look a bad driver when really we know that he isn’t…..

    1. tri says:

      Massa is NOT the same that he was before his accident. He is clearly not even challenging in the top-5. At best he can get is sixth if the other 5 perform to their potential.

  39. Very, very tough call this time.

    On the face of it, I would have opted for Alonso who really outdrove his car to take an excellent second. However, it was a truly remarkable performance by Jenson Button when you factor in the technical difficulties he had to drive around.

    With an intermittently functioning KERS, his car’s behaviour under braking would’ve been changing quite profoundly from corner to corner, lap to lap. To maintain quick, consistent lap times whilst holding off Mark Webber and fiddling and resetting KERS is no mean feat. A great example of the modern F1 driver’s art.

    1. Andy H says:

      And people say he’s no good.
      Ross Brawn, Martin Whitmarsh and JYS hold JB in great regard, nuff said.

  40. Richard says:

    Hamilton because of the win, but Alonso run him a very close second. Beyond that button did exceptionally well to hold on to his podium finish in the ligh of his KERS problems.
    I don’t think Hamilton is quite back to his best, but he has made a very good start given how constrained the grid is on these tyres.

  41. ed24f1 says:

    I’d say Sutil also deserves a nomination, finishing the race just 1.2 seconds behind Schumacher was a great achievement.

  42. TFLB says:

    None of the ones you listed. Instead, Adrian Sutil for thrashing his teammate and coming very close to a much faster Mercedes.

  43. Dave Aston says:

    He’s not on the list, but I thought Sutil was driver of the day. Also, I’d like to say, in the spirit of so much of the discourse this season, that Hamilton’s excellent drive was purely as a result of him hanging out with American Hip Hop icons; were he friendly with a nice pop group like Coldplay, he’d be nowhere. In addition, Webber’s disappointing performance must be attributed to the utter inefficiency of Adrian Newey’s design. Seriously – with their drives for next year locked in, how do Massa and Webber sleep at night?

  44. ajay says:

    I have given it to Alonso on the nod, but to be fair it is difficult to really judge what was going on, Button had a Kers problem and it looked like Hamiliton was just managing the gap to Alonso. I think in reality the actual race would have been between Alonso and Button for third and Vettel and Hamilton for first assuming no technical mishaps had happened

  45. C.George says:

    Private opinion;
    The normal car’s performance – 100 %
    Driver’s performance: (one lap)
    FA-101%
    LH-103%
    SV-105%
    Driver’s perfoprmance: (racing condition)
    LH-101%
    FA-102%
    SV-103%

    1. AlexD says:

      You need to calibrate your calculator

    2. TheLegend says:

      OMG. Fernando is, by far, the most competitive driver on a race distance. And he has really improved his Q lately. Those would be my %:
      Driver’s performance (one lap):
      FA-99’2%
      LH-99’6%
      SV-99’9%
      Driver’s perfoprmance (racing condition):
      FA-99’9%
      LH-99’5%
      SV-99%

      Cars limit is 100%, more is phisicaly impossible, and 100% is prefection, what is impossible too.

      Your supposed Vettel’s race pace was what really impressed me. When did he make you though he was that fast?

      1. James Beck says:

        By your numbers, Vettel would have put the Ferrari on pole (100s lap, so 0.1% is 0.1s). Not sure I agree.

      2. TheLegend says:

        Mmm, i wasn’t thinking it that way. I mean, that was just an aprox of the level this three drivers have compared to each other, but not a really accurate time measure difference. I don’t believe FA is 0.9 sec/lap faster that SV on race trim.

  46. Andy H says:

    Hiekki deserves a big pat on the back for a very strong season, out performs the car on a regular basis.
    There is only one driver of the day, as much as it rankles me, its Alonso. In a racing car he’s a cut above the rest. Yes that does mean all of them and we have an exceptional crop of pilots at the moment.
    Button drove a very well to cope with the car.
    Webber’s school report will say “should do better”.
    Hamilton did the job that any of the top drivers should do.
    As for Massa, all he had to do was keep it moving forwards not sideways. His love affair with Ferrari is nearing its end I fear.

  47. Sergio says:

    I think Alonso did the same as he ever does. He is always fast and consistent but above all, the Spaniard is the best handling cars difficult to drive. Hamilton, yesterday was better than he used to be. He was able to CONTROL de race like Vettel is doing all season. Not so easy for the Englishman this year. He took care of tyres and fuel consumption, but saying that I think McLarens are easier to drive and 2-3 tenths faster than Ferrari with prime (Softer compound)and 6-8 tenths quicker with option (Harder compound).

    Both Alonso and Hamilton did a fantastic job, but my prize is for Fernando thanks to his first amazing lap.

  48. gonzeche says:

    Alonso.
    Outperformed his car again. Does it race in and race out, championship in and championship out.

  49. Lexus says:

    I would say Hamilton for driver of the day. Everyone goes on and on and on about him not being able to preserve his tyres and I am sure Alonso was hoping that Hamilton would have driven them over the cliff but he did not. SO NOW CAN WE ALL STOP SAYING HAMILTON CANNOT look after his tyres. If tyre preservation was not such a major factor I am sure Hamilton would have opened up a larger gap. F1 now is about keeping clear of DRS and then covering the following car’s actions, not about driving off into the sunset and seeing if you can lap everyone.

  50. DC says:

    Fernando, without question.
    In my opinion, no other driver currently in F1 can ‘outdrive’ the car to the level Fernando can.

    Slightly off topic, but with Fernando now the clear No.1 at Ferrari, i would of thought it would be a good opportnity for Ferrari to take a punt on a younger second driver, Perez maybe?

  51. Qiang says:

    I just hope Ferrari get their act together next season not necessarily making the fastest car, but at least not half a second per lap. Then it will be real fighting for each race and Alonso will make Vettel, Hamilton to work real hard to earn their money.

  52. Rudy says:

    Has to be Button for all the inconvenients he had to deal with. Sometimes, we vote for those who gain a lot of positions as it is a consequence of overtaking. On other occassions it is the one who wins. Rarely we praise those who manage car difficulties and change strategy while the race unfolds. Well, that’s what Button did yesterday. The reward to his magnificent racecraft is to nearly consolidate as 2nd place on the WDC, not to mention beating his illustrous team mate as McLaren’s best.

  53. Born Racer says:

    Fernando Alonso with another stomper. The driver of the season for me.

    1. herowassenna says:

      Greetings Born,
      Apart from my bias for Alonso and Ferrari, I believe he’s been the standout driver of the last 2 seasons.
      2010, leaving Silverstone 47 points behind, he declared he could still win the championship.
      But for a strategic mistake, Alonso would indeed have been champion, in what was the 2nd or 3rd best car of 2010.

  54. Dino says:

    I voted Fernando, mainly because that great first lap, it reminded me for a while that glorious first Donnington Senna lap back in 1993.

    Lets do not forget that the positions gained by him were normal overtakings during the course of the lap, not as the regular positions gained on a grid start.

    I also liked Lewis race, he did everything perfect, and also Jenson’s one, stracted the maximum of a faulty car.

    The only way to have a real measure of Sebastien skills is to seat him alongside of someone of the Fernando, Lewis or Jenson calibre. I would really like someone could replace both Mark and Felipe to have a different benchmark to compare their team mates.

    Regards.

  55. Tim B says:

    Close choice between Button and Alonso for me, but in the end Fernando because he pushed the car past where everyone thought it should be, and made no real errors despite driving on the limit for much of the race.

    Not a big Ferrari fan, but really hope they can give Alonso a car to compete for the championship next year – after the glitches in the early part of last year, he’s really been impressive. I guess we shouldn’t complain – it’s rare to get two or three top drivers in even vaguely competitive cars at the same time, and arguably we have three in Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton. However, if Mclaren and Ferrari can get a fraction closer to RB next season it should be a fantastic season. They’re coming from further back, but always a chance Mercedes could be up there as well.

    Didn’t see enough of those further back to make a call, but there seemed to be some very good drives in the midfield and tail of the field.

  56. JB says:

    How can Mark Webber be in the driver of the day list? He should be in the disappointment of the day list. In fact, he should be in the disappointment of the year list.

  57. DavidC says:

    It has to be Hamilton this time around. He was driving within restraint, looked after his tires well, made no mistakes, yet was able to pull out a 26 sec advantage over his teammate Jenson Button(who supposedly looks after his tires well) .

  58. Wombat says:

    I voted for Mark Webber (for the effort he put in) but have to admit it was really Lewis Hamilton’s day – really smooth untroubled drive from the front and Alonso did very well to stick with him all the way. Great pity Vettel wasn’t there with them, then we could have had a memorable race. Sadly this one will just be a statistic.

  59. Den says:

    Button of course! Finishing 3rd with KERS on and off all the way.

  60. Richard D says:

    FA got my vote as he outperformed his car again when looking at quali times. You cant really use FP as you dont know fuel loads, KERS / DRS usage around the track. (I did notice during FP that Vettel was not using his DRS as much as others at the same time & place on track.) Could FA have won this race given the slow pitstops & HRT – No, the Ferrari is a dog to handle on the harder tyres as shown by the gap increase between last stop & last lap. Ferrari probably cant wait for softer compounds next year.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/15723626.stm

    This link is M Brundles assessment of the race but an interesting point is that Massa had to give FA his front wing, I presume this was why he was so far off the pace. I was also thinking (before reading this) that perhaps Massa is doing long distance runs (in the race) with new parts for 2012 whereas FA is still chasing a 2011 WDC position so getting current upgrades. I do however still agree FM is usually 0.2-0.5 per lap quicker but not 1sec per lap.

    Onto McLaren and something which hasnt been picked up by the media often enough (in my opinion) is when Brundle asks Button about his gear selection / downforce when different to LH, JB always gives the same answer, I chose my set up for the race implying that LH set his car more for quali runs. This can explain his speed without KERS available. Perhaps this also explains LH’s extra tyre wear during the year. In Abu Dhabi they (commentators) admitted the tyres were nearer Bridgestones bulletproofness which IMO also played into LH’s hands for a more quali set up.

    As for the criticism of MW not being able to overtake JB in the DRS zone his 7th gear was hitting the rev limiter when DRS was open. Poor choice of gears? perhaps given his quali & start performances then yes. Not my driver of the day even though he did the fastest laps consistently he still finished in his starting position.

    With the off-throttle exhaust blowing reg change next year are Lotus (the black cars) results since Nick Heidfeld left as a result of them stopping development on 2011 car or NH experience being lost & 2 relatively new drivers at the helm? I think it is a mixture of all of this but will only know next year.

    Best of the rest, probably HK in Caterham & DR in the HRT until his retirement.

  61. I’ll go for Lewis this time, although it is indeed a close call between him and Fernando. It’s also about how much he needed this win, his broken spirit till yesterday and the faultless drive. It was a fantastic effort by Alonso and Ferrari, but Fernando and Ferrari “just” got it wrong at the last pit stop. McLaren’s timing with the tyre management was inch-perfect; Lewis (new mediums) got up to Fernando’s speed (old softs) right away.

    1. Gerald says:

      I definitely agree. Lewis’ broken spirit needed this win more than anyone and you could really tell by comparing the way he was in Korea to the way he was after winning at Abu Dhabi.

  62. Vinola says:

    FA was awesome. JA had another solid drive with some robust defensive driving early on. Webber was disapointing, yet again (too little, too late). Lewis has my vote for his performance the entire weekend and winning the race. The latter counts for something!.
    BTW, how does one “outperform” a machinery?..JA outperformed Massa with the same equipment; all we can conclude is that he got more out the car than Massa did.

  63. Gerald says:

    I voted Alonso mainly because he was able to find such really great pace in a car that honestly was a footnote during practice and qualifying. The car didn’t show the pace of the Red Bull’s or McLaren’s but he somehow managed to make quick work of Webber and Button and pull out a much better than expected result.

    Hamilton gave a Vettel-like drive by leading the majority of the race, meaning he didn’t have to do any racing though it was completely dominant.

    He gets my recognition as well simply because how much he needed that win in light of the downers going with his personal life and media criticism. Honestly seeing him so down in Japan, Korea, and India was really depressing. Seeing that win put such a big smile on his face again had to be one of the most refreshing things I’ve seen in a while. Vettel had plenty of moments. This day belonged to Lewis and his mum.

  64. pallys says:

    Hamilton was controlling the pace. You could see he would not let the gap go to less than 3 secs barring traffic.

    He even said he had pace in reserve and when he noticed ALonso did a quick lap, he would retaliate.

    Hamilton controlled it because he’s learnt you don’t need to win by 10 seconds.

    That’s why Alonso never got remotely close to challenging by getting inside the DRS window.

  65. Anthony says:

    Obviously Hamilton did nothing more than was expected of him and Alonso impressed the most among the leaders.

    I would be interested to know James whether you think Hamilton was on the limit, or just comfortably maintaining the gap? Most people seem to think the latter, but how can there be any sense in a strategy with a 3 second lead? One tiny slip in the final stop and you could lose the race – surely if you had the potential pace to get a 10 second lead, you would use it?

  66. Anup Kadam says:

    Hey hie James,
    MY driver of the day was Fernando Alonso…fantastic drive…n even Lewis drove very well…stayed away from Felipe…James i want to hear from you regarding Webber`s strategy during 2nd pit stop why redbull always do mistakes or you can say wrong strategic calls with Webber…their were only 20 laps to go which can be done on medium tyres and Webber did had the pace to beat Button`s mclaren…then why did redbull screwed it…i have seen many times this year they are not fair enough with webbers pit strategy…what`s your take on this James…

  67. Rodrigo Visconti says:

    Driver of the day: Rubens Barrichelo.
    Driver of the season: Alonso.

    1. V8 Fan says:

      Actually, I think the driver of the season is Jenson Button.

  68. wexes says:

    Vettel! For giving us fans a real race by crashing out! Boyoboy it’s been a while since we didn’t know who’d come out top.

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