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Australian Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Mar 2012   |  3:36 am GMT  |  190 comments

Jenson Button got the better of his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton in an entertaining season opening grand prix at Albert Park, Melbourne in Australia but who was your driver of the day?

Jenson Button

Began the weekend strongly, topping the times in first practice on Friday. Focused on setting the car up for the race in the next two practice sessions but still delivered an impressive lap in qualifying to make the front row alongside McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Made a good getaway to pass Hamilton into the first corner and then built a comfortable gap at the head of the field. Left the field trailing at the restart after the safety car and controlled the race from then on to secure his third victory in four years at Albert Park.

Sebastian Vettel

Made a mistake in Friday practice, spinning his Red Bull into the gravel and losing vital set-up time. Looked downbeat after qualifying sixth, one spot behind his team-mate Mark Webber, after a scrappy lap on his final run. Made up for that performance with a strong start, passing Webber and then gaining places when Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean had their retirements. Kept pace with the leaders and then benefitted from the safety car to leapfrog Hamilton into second, where he stayed for the rest of the race.

Fernando Alonso

Struggled to hide his disappointment during Friday practice when the Ferrari was well off the pace. Qualifying didn’t get much better as he spun off in Q2 to start the race from 12th. The car looked stronger in race, with the Spaniard scything his way through the field. He was up to eighth by lap. Struggled to make the tyres last but got everything he could out of the car and did well to finish fifth.

Kamui Kobayashi

Showed good pace in Friday practice and even finished fastest of all in Q1, but failed to replicate the form and qualified a modest 13th. Avoided Bruno Senna’s spinning Willams at the start, but was hit by team-mate Sergio Perez which damaged his rear wing. Lost out when the safety car came out, but pulled off some good overtaking moves, including one round the outside of Kimi Raikkonen, to rise to ninth. That was improved to sixth when he benefitted from Pastor Maldonado’s crash and then took advantage of a squabbling Nico Rosberg and Sergio Perez.

Kimi Raikkonen

A miscommunication with the team in qualifying meant he failed to make Q2 and started the race 18th. But the Finn’s race was much stronger and he showed that he has lost none of his race-craft skills with some impressive wheel-to-wheel racing. He was up to eighth by lap 14 and then put a stellar move on Kobayashi around the outside of Turn 4. Looked set for 10th place, but Maldonado’s crash on the last lap caused havoc behind him, allowing Raikkonen to benefit and finish seventh.

Sergio Perez

Had a disappointing qualifying session which saw him finish 17th fastest but a gearbox change relegated him five places to 22nd – which was effectively last as the HRTs failed to qualify. Damaged his front wing when he touched team-mate Kobayashi at the start but managed to drive around the problem. Made a one-stop strategy work, which involved him completing a mammoth 34 laps on the soft tyre. Clashed with Nico Rosberg at the end, but held on to salvage eighth.

Pastor Maldonado

Produced one of his best ever qualifying performances to finish seventh fastest and then transferred that form into race pace on Sunday. Put a good move on Romain Grosjean in the early laps and then looked set for sixth place – a points haul which would have bettered Williams’ total for the whole of 2011 – however a mistake on the last lap saw him crash into the wall. Nonetheless, it was a strong performance for both driver and team.

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  1. K says:

    Surprised Ricciardo isn’t there. Qualified in 10th in his first race with Toro Rosso, involved in a first lap incident putting him at the back of the field. Moved up the grid before being bunched up in the safety car then bought it home in 9th – ultimately improving on his grid position.

    1. tifosi down under says:

      agree %100, what a drive from the young man. very impressive. to take points away from his team mate on the last lap show guts, Hopefully he keeps up the great work, from an Australian point of view, I would love him to take over the place of Mark Webber when he decides to call it a day.

      1. AB says:

        Make that another vote for the young Aussie. Impressive quali and a strong drive back up the field

      2. C Goldsmith says:

        I agree Daniel had a great recovery drive and seems to have a great attitude to this season. He should of got a mention, but we are bit spoilt for choice we some great drives on the weekend!

    2. Richard says:

      If we consider the whole race weekend, both Jenson and Lewis were excellent for they both overcame challenge from Adrian Newey’s cars during qualifying and racing.

      1. Chris G says:

        Over the entire race weekend, Lewis came third, behind an Adrian Newey car

      2. JB says:

        How can Maldonado be in the list and Ricciardo not in it? Clearly Maldonado is a case where the car was doing well and he screw it up! He is paid driver and embarrassment to F1. Where as Ricciardo is a case where he did well improving his tenth place to 9th on the first race on a new team.

      3. Ayron says:

        Pretty harsh.

        While I would have put Ricciardo in ahead of Maldonado on this list, Maldonado did pretty well overall in a car that was embarrassingly poor last year and deserves some credit.

        Ricciardo’s performance wasn’t perfect with a couple of trips across the grass, but he stuck at it and got 2 points as a result. Showed some good attitude and some grit.

        End of the day, however, I would vote for Button. He controlled the front of the race well. Got away at the start and made sure the pit stops worked and got a gap over Vettel straight away after the safety car. Comfortable and controlled.

      4. Abs says:

        Err.. How about the fact that the McLaren is a much better car than the Red Bull this year?

      5. Aussie Fan says:

        Much better. Equal, slightly better maybe, but I wouldn’t go so far as to use the M word :-)

    3. Thomas11 says:

      Overtaking his team mate on track too without the use of DRS and putting in purple sectors in a midfield car that was apparently pulling to the left.

      Ricciardo for me, fantastic race for him. If Senna hadn’t hit him he’d probably be as high as 6th.

  2. Chris Chong says:

    Wanted to click on Kobayashi but he’s not there!

    But to be honest, it’s hard to pick an outright driver-of-the-day; it was a brilliant race with great performances from all of the above-mentioned drivers.

    I think a lot of credit goes to the Sauber drivers for getting as far as they did with damaged cars. For Perez, his pace and ability to nurse a set of tyres is nothing short of amazing. For Kamui, his duel with Kimi was probably the most exciting of the race (even his botched overtaking on Rosberg was entertaining for its sheer ludicrousness).

    Maybe individually, one wouldn’t name either Sauber driver as DOTD, but they were definitely the best team yesterday, punching way above their weight.

    BUT… if I had to choose, the DOTD would have to be Alonso, only because of his ability to wrestle his car beyond what most people think it could do.

    1. Kay says:

      Totally agree with you on all your points, Chris.

    2. David Young says:

      Agree. For me it’s a toss up between the 2 Sauber drivers and Alonso. Button drove a flawless race so I could add him too, but I think the others had much more to overcome.

    3. Sebee says:

      Are you serious? Alonso? What, Kimi, Perez, Kobayashi didn’t move up higher from starting position?

      Alonso was unlucky in quli and a lucky in race to finish 5th. That’s all there is to it.

      I can’t believe Alonso is second in this voting round, and only 10% behind the guy who controlled this race like a gourmet chef controls a 1 minute microwave noodle cup!! Unbelievable!

      1. Chris Chong says:

        @Sebee

        Yes I am. Especially when you consider how much of a dog the Ferrari’s been and how much better he performed compared to Massa.

        Alonso’s side of the pit garage also took a gamble by putting him out on two stints on the slower prime tyre. Even then, his tyres were still graining badly (much faster than the rest of the top ten). And in spite of this, he still managed to defend successfully against a much faster Maldonado in the closing stages.

        This is the same Ferrari which, in the hands of Massa, was being mauled in the corners AND straights by Kimi’s Lotus and the two DAMAGED Saubers.

        And to top it off, Alonso was running as high as 4th but lost out to Webber during safety car.

        So you see, Mr Sebee, while the number of positions gained throughout a race is a pretty good indicator of a driver’s performance, statistically, it is not the whole picture – especially when you consider how the first-lap melee shuffled the grid quite a bit and benefitted the people further back more than those in front.

    4. Tony Riley says:

      Kobayashi is there in the list.

      1. Chris Chong says:

        He wasn’t earlier.

    5. Aussie Fan says:

      Yeah nicely summarized Chris, totally agree with you. Stellar drives from quite a few of the drivers all in all a very impressive start to the season!

  3. Tim says:

    Ricciardo.

    The amount of coverage he was getting by the commentary team was almost criminal. All through the race I was watching as he was setting times that put him third to fourth fastest on track at any time, but he was still down in last from that early pitstop. The rate he caught and passed Senna, multiple times, was insane – and he was only ever stuck behind those backmarkers for a lap at a time at most.

    That last lap scrap was incredible, taking a position from his teammate in the final corners, and a points-paying position.

    1. conor says:

      Haha that’s wicked, I need to find some more clips of the race

    2. Wayne says:

      Speaking of the commentary team, they (BBC) are sorely missing Brundle. It was almost entirely enthusiasm and exuberance over tallent, knowledge and incisive calls. They missed so much it was embarressing and when DC confidently announced that the safety car would benefit McLaren and penalise Vettel I all but gave up on listening to them.

      I also miss Brundle and DC’s joint humour already.

      1. Mitchel says:

        I actually quite like the respective pairings for BBC and Sky (and for that matter Five-Live).

        Ben Edwards and David Croft have a perfect level of enthuisiastic delivery and knowledge, and Brundle and DC are best suited to using their expertise to chip-in when neccessary.

        Last year was a mismatch with DC and Brundle together- Brundle is noticeably more comfortable in the co-commentator role…

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Thought the bbc race time coverage was actually better than Sky’s even without Brundle the touring car guy good enthusiastic and fast flowing, certainly showed his lack of knowledge a wee bit i.e identifying drivers sharply but it will come to him :)

      3. David Young says:

        so true!

      4. Dave says:

        I agree with you here Wayne. I watched it on Sky (well, Virgin, but you get the point) and as much as I do like David Croft and Martin Brundle individually, I didn’t enjoy the commentary as much as I did with it was Brundle and DC.

        Some say they were mismatched, but for me it was quite the opposite. I like the banter and the friendliness in their commentary – the little jokes with each other etc. The insight they brought – DC from the viewpoint of a man who only recently stopped racing, and Brundle from the viewpoint of a guy who clearly knows pretty much everything there is to know on the sport and has a superb ability to translate that into something I can understand – was superb.

        I watched some of the BBC highlights and wasn’t especially enamoured with Ben Edwards – and without sounding too disrespectful, enthusiasm over talent is a fairly accurate summary. I’m sure he’ll improve given time though.

      5. Prateek says:

        +1

        Down here in NZ the only bit of F1 we get to see on TV (despite paying $$$ for Sky and Sky Sports) is the actual race itself without any race build up or post race shows…the insightful BBC commentary was the saving grace but this year I fully agree that the BBC commentary sucked big time. DC seemed to be overloaded trying to make up for Brundle’s absence and a totally lost in Ben Edwards’ over the top and loud commentating cutting him off every now and then.

        It’s a pity that a lot has changed from last year…having given up the broadcasting rights to Sky, the least BBC could have done was to retain the quality commentating partnership that worked so well.

      6. Pyaare says:

        Ohh so BBC doesn’t have under the belt pot shot taker Brundle anymore, that’s a surprise

  4. Peter says:

    Cannot got past Alonso, just again shows how brilliant of a driver he in, no matter the car his in.

    Close 2nd is Button, amazing lap times and gaps to the resy of thw field, while conserving fuel.

    Kimi n 3rd great 1st race back, beat he can’t wait for Malaysiaand qualify better.

    Either can I great season opener.

    1. Definitely Button – flawless all weekend.
      Second – Alonso – managed to hide the real deficit of Ferrari.

  5. Jamie says:

    Ok so people can’t be serious about thinking Button was the driver of the day. It could only ever be either Alonso or Raikkonen. Honorable mention would be Vettel or Maldonado IF HE DIDN’T F*&K up at the end. The McLaren drivers were not stellar and I am a McLaren fan since before Senna days.

    1. Greygamer says:

      You can not be serious, Maldonado was lucky not to get a penalty for early contact and then crashed for no apparent reason (reminds me of Sato).

      Button was perfect, except for a gear selection mistake at the start (he still took the lead) and completely controlled the race.

      Alonoso or Raikkonen? From a McLaren Fan?

      I am torn between Button and Alonso, when is Alonso going to tell Ferrari that designing difficult to drive cars is not going to deliver a world championship. Button’s move to McLaren is looking like genius at the moment, he is not phased by Hamilton …unlike Alonso.

      I pick Button in the end as he delivered a good qualifying performance which isn’t often the case and a good start which he also struggles with. They also had fuel issues so all in all a fantastic job.

      Alonso is a close second for getting the best from a bad car …again!

      1. Jamie says:

        I respectfully disagree. Winning a race is no mean feat, that I cannot argue with. However, given the tools at hand, I’d have to weigh in that Button’s adversity was somewhat “less” than either Alonso or Kimi. Alonso, as always out-drives any car that he’s in and given that the living Spring-Magnet Massa is not only living proof that human being can live without a spine but is also validation that Alonso is extracting more out of that car than is physically possible.

        Kimi on the other hand is in a car that missed crucial days of pre-season testing due to chassis problems plus given that he was away for 2 years, I’d reckon that things may be a bit daunting in the first race of the season.

      2. Greygamer says:

        I didn’t realise that adversity is the most important criteria for DotD. In that case Alonso will be winning this award for most of the season.

      3. JohnBt says:

        Can I safely for Alonso – it’s 70% driver, 30% car.

      4. monktonnik says:

        I hate to be pedantic, but you can’t extract more from a car than is physically possible, because it wouldn’t be physically possible.

        He did have a great race though and clearly out performed expectations, but the car is capable of those lap times as the stop watch doesn’t lie.

      5. Nico says:

        Shameful comments on Massa …

        I dont like the guy and his performances have been terrible lately but show some respect to his injury FFS.

      6. Jamie says:

        haha, good poitn about the “physically” impossible bit – I concede that!

        I must say, the overal level of respect and great quality comments of the average F1 fan/spactactor is certainly in stark comparison to the other forums or discussion groups I’ve been on.

        By now, people would be bringing in the big guns like “Yo mamma” or the inarguable rebutable “nu-uh!”!

        Anyways, given the adersity bit, I agree that Alonso will probably exceed that criteria for most of the season!

      7. RogerRoger says:

        Surely it would have been more daunting given that he apparently didnt fancy driving it in the wet. His choice.

      8. Nathan says:

        Agree 100% with all your points. Especially the point about Maldonado! I thought Vettel was very good too.

      9. AndyFov says:

        What more could Button have done? He’s meant to be the underdog, yet he crushed Hamilton yesterday. He proved too that he doesn’t need changeable conditions to beat him.

        He passed his team mate without clipping him, controlled the race, and did enough to finish ahead of Vettel. He also set a fastest lap time in the closing stages when he had no need to.

      10. Nathan says:

        @andyfov, sorry can’t reply to your comment but my initial replay was about the one who said it ‘cannot’ be button but to the first reply. I voted for button and agree with the points you made.

      11. Steve says:

        Vettel did those things last year AndyFov and rarely won this poll, because those voting felt that because he was in the best car he was less deserving.

      12. Jamie says:

        @Steve: completely agree with your comments.

    2. Totally agree with you!

    3. Nathan says:

      why can’t button be driver of the day. Led after the first corner, opened up a gap and controlled the race. Safety car came out, opened up a gap and controlled the race again. Just because he had the best package shouldn’t count against him. Did he have to lap the field to get a mention?

      1. John says:

        “Nathan Reply:
        March 19th, 2012 at 7:31 am

        why can’t button be driver of the day. Led after the first corner, opened up a gap and controlled the race. Safety car came out, opened up a gap and controlled the race again. Just because he had the best package shouldn’t count against him. Did he have to lap the field to get a mention?”

        Well said Nathan. Last year these same points were exactly why Vettel was voted DOTD time and again – except Vettel never had to overtake a team mate and past WDC to do it.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Excpt Vettel rarely – if ever – won the DotD award on this site last year…

      3. MISTER says:

        Excuse me?
        I don’t EVER recall Vettel to take the Driver of the Day on James’s website. And I am being very serious when I say never. I just don’t recall that. Maybe he got it once or twice at most. Maybe James can confirm how many times Vettel got it..if he has a quick statistic somewhere..otherwise I will go through the articles from last year once I finish work.

      4. Robin says:

        I absolutely agree with Mister as I’m also pretty positive Vettel never got DotD on JAF1 in 2011. If Button and Vettel’s places had been reversed with Button going from 6th to 2nd and Vettel controlling from the front, it would have been DotD for Button and Vettel would have got, based on 2011, about 15% of the vote.

        RC

      5. Steve says:

        You can not be serious. Vettel rarely if ever won this vote even last year and the excuse given in the comments was always that he was in the best car.

        You also seem to have a hazy memory, when presented with the need to overtake Vettel stuck it including a particularly memorable balls to the wall pass on Alonso at Monza or Spa.

      6. Quattro_T says:

        Why cannot it be JB? Well, it can very well be him, but the question is who is the DRIVER of the day – not CAR of the day. If we are to vote the driver of the day, I think we have to put more emphasize on which drivers “out-drove” their equipment, rather than only what position they ended at.

        No matter the driver, that Mclaren would finish very high up the standings and as you could see it would have been a 1-2 for Mclaren if not for the SC. When you look at that Ferrari though, you cannot say the same. Not any driver would have managed to put it a 5th (or actually a possible 4th had it not been for the SC!!). Compare what Alonso did with given equipment, to that of his team mate (same equipment) and you will understand why it cannot be Button who was DOTD. Also, Button did only marginally outperform another driver in same equipment, namely LH.

      7. Nathan says:

        I understand what you are on about but don’t fully agree. Alonso was brilliant yesterday as he is at just about every GP. As good a car as Macca was in Melbourne Button still had to steer it and push the pedals. There are no rules for DOTD award, just opinions. Which is the best thing about it. I just don’t think the guy who has the best car and dominates the race should be ruled out as Vettel was just about all last season.

      8. Phil says:

        If Vettel did that, Button would still have been driver of the day! It’s hypocritical

    4. wiz says:

      Got to agree about Button. Last season so many people slagged off Vettel for the same thing -leading from the front in the fastest car, yet Button does it and he’s driver of the day? A bit too much nationalistic pride I think! Nothing special by Button, but excellent drives by Alonso and Kimi.

      1. Trey says:

        Button drove superb, but all he did was pass a sleeping Hamilton. He had the best car on the grid, so hardly surprising he was able to extend and martian a decent gap to 2nd, in clean air.

        Am surprised people have such short memories. JB won, deservedly imo, DoTD many times last season for driving the wheels off a car that was not the fastest. Often making up many grid places through consistency, overtakes, and putting himself in the right position to take advantage of others errors or external situations (weather / SC).

        Alonso, Vettell, Maldanado (almost) and others showed that same JB spirit and that’s why i’d put all of them above JB this time round.

    5. Foz says:

      How could button have done any better in the race? His perfectionism gets my vote. Hamilton had no answer for his pace at all. He couldnt get near him.

      Then perez is in a close second. Last on the grid to a points finish, he should get Massa’s job.

      Looks like we have serious mid-field talent now, exciting times!

    6. Dan says:

      Agree completely! Great drives by Alonso and also by Vettel. Both got results that were better than their cars.

    7. Phil says:

      Agree.
      It seems that the role between Button and Vettel was reversed for this race from last year. Yet suprise suprise Button gets all the votes again.
      Last year, Vettel would drive away from the start and win a race, not win DotD. Button would fight from mid top 10 and hands down win.

      Now this race Button drives away from the start, Vettel fights to 2nd from mid top 10 and still gets only 3% of the vote.
      [mod]

      1. RogerRoger says:

        [mod]. I would imagine that the German equivalent of JAonF1 would reverse the situation. I dont think anyone (or not many) of the readers of this site would say they ‘hate’ Vettel. I am a big fan of Jenson and in my opinion he drove a fantastic race but I am not blinkered to the fact that Alonso drove what can only be described as a dog of a car very well yesterday.

    8. elie says:

      Agree completely Jamie. Jenson did drive brillantly but he did pass his team mate who was very generous on first corner also and they were both 1,2.
      On the other hand you have a guy who hasnt raced in two years starting from 18…are we starting to get the picture ??. But I think we will see more of the greatest racer ever !.Agree with Fernando but Im really starting to wonder how bad that Ferrari really is. A big improvement to Fellipe with new chasis yesterday, so maybe there was an issue and Ive never believed he is the racer he was after his accident.
      For me cant split cant split Kimi / Fernando on this

  6. Daniel MA says:

    I think Maldonado would have been one of the favorites for driver of the day but with that crash… he actually made similar mistakes last year it’s just that he was much further back, so let’s hope he takes it as a learning experience.

    1. Craig in SG says:

      Don’t worry. Hamilton did the same thing in Monza 09 – crashed on the last lap whilst in 3rd place – so if he can live and learn, I’m sure Pastor can as well.

  7. Glennb says:

    JB, without hesitation.
    Honourable mention, Dan Ricciardo.

  8. ricciardo was THE driver, from last, in a damaged car to ninth was an outstanding effort in any ones book. why you left him off james is a complete mystery. his brilliance on the last lap shows what a excellent driver he will become.

    maldonado should not have been there. his track actions in a couple of instance were definitely questionable and his last lap brain fade should have eliminated him from the list.

    1. BW says:

      it would be an effort from Ricciardo only if there were no safety car, I’m afraid

    2. MISTER says:

      Ricciardo finished ninth only because of other peoples misfortunes and retirements..not because he did some outstanding overtakes.
      He was behind Vergne for quite a few laps and couldn’t do anything..

      And if you want me to put the facts down..Ricciardo finished 3rd last. The only other cars behind him were Di Resta and Vergne.

      Other facts see below:
      Lap 28 – Ricciardo was 17th ahead of Glock and Pic
      Lap 32 – he was 17th and 5sec behind Senna who just pitted
      Lap 37 – Safety Car deploys.

      Basically for more than half the race Ricciardo was 3rd from last. I like the guy and he is fast..but he was nowhere even close to get a nomination to driver of the day..

      1. Robin Trance says:

        I suggest you take the time to look at Ricciardo’s lap times and the rate at which he closed on the tail of the others. He set the fastest lap of the race 3 times, although this was not displayed on the television coverage.

      2. MISTER says:

        I’m not judging “driver of the day” on the fastest laps or how quick someone was racing at the back of the field..just as how I was not voting for Vettel last year when he was running away with it in the first lap.

        He didn’t do anything spectacular. He did nothing more than drive quick around the track and then thanks to the SC..he took advantage of some “babbling” between Vergne and Rosberg (I think).

        If you think he did anything out of the ordinary..please point it out to me.

      3. Wild Man says:

        Third from the back. So what? Points are paid on position from the front. How far from the back is dependant on how many cars start the race & how many have DNF’d.

        Does that mean if only three cars finish the race, then winning is not counted (after all, only third from the back).&

      4. MISTER says:

        Winning does count Wild Man, but winning a race doesn’t necessary mean that driver is the Driver of the Day.
        I guess you didn’t see or refused to read all of my post.

        Let me repeat myself..did Ricciardo did anything out of the ordinary? Any overtakes, any bold strategy calls, anything? It’s his job to drive fast around the track, but when he does that and gets some skillful overtakes on faster cars..or bold strategy calls..then he will get my vote on the Driver of the Day.

        Also I want to touch on your line: “Third from the back. So what? Points are paid on position from the front.”
        Well..that means that are 8 other drivers who would get the Driver of the Day before Ricciardo..if we follow your logic. either way..your driver doesn’t get it. I am pretty sure that’s why James didn’t even nominate him. Should take more than driving at the back of the pack for half the race to get even nominated.

      5. Wild Man says:

        [mod] My driver of the day was Button (for the record).

  9. Mick Leyden says:

    Alonso for me, the contrast between he and Massa just goes to show what a class act he is. Sensational drive in a terrible car.

    1. W Bennet says:

      Or could it be that Massa’s under performance flatters Alonso’s driving?

      1. Mick Leyden says:

        Could be, but by the way the car was sliding around all over the track for both of them I think in this case it is more the car is rubbish (at this stage).

      2. W Bennet says:

        Perhaps not a winning car but I read that the Ferrari is not so bad when fueled up for a race compared to running light for qualifying.

      3. Quattro_T says:

        You have a point, if you choose to only look at one individual race (snap-shot), with no reference to historical data (many different seasons/cars). If you on the other hand consider Alonsos’ carrier, you will find many more occations when he outperformed equipment and team mate (more often than not both at the same time as well). This IMO strongly supports what Mick is saying.

  10. Gary Taylor says:

    Surely it can only be JB? Controlled the race from the start to finish. Excellent restart after the SC, he looked like vettel from last season!

    1. Hum says:

      With a car a second a lap faster?

      I remember last year people would never vote because he won it from the front grid, controlling the race with excellence from start to finish, SC restarts etc.

      Now it is a British driver doing it with a huge car advantage and it is an amazing performance :P

      1. Gary Taylor says:

        I think he was driver of the day, not because he did a ‘Vettel 2011′, but because he totally out classed his team mate. I’m pretty sure most people (Lewis included) expected a Hamilton win?

        I’m also sure if this year turned into a repeat of last year (which I doubt!) but with JB the main man. That people will look at others for driver of the day!

      2. JT says:

        A second a lap faster? Source?

  11. Stuart says:

    A word for the Marussia drivers even though they were lapped. They got the cars home after minimal winter testing. Timo Glock has been very stoic in the face of everything happening around the new car, crash tests etc but he proved his worth to the team.

    Kobayashi deserves a mention too. Sauber did well in Melbourne last year too (even though they were DQ), is there a special reason they seem to like this circuit? Anyway hopefully Kobayashi can add some consistency to his raw talent and progress this year.

  12. Heinzman says:

    Was going to say Alonso, however reading Tim’s post Ricciardo did an amazing job to get up to and past his team mate. You can say the safety car helped, but it also helped a number of the drivers above.

    Well done Daniel Ricciardo, great never give up attitude.

  13. Darren says:

    Button for me , Lewis has got to start smiling miserable so and so

  14. Rich C says:

    I think Maldonado’s only error was continuing to go absolutely flat out to the very end, if you can call that a mistake.

    1. The Crappest says:

      I 100% agree with this comment.

      It was a racing incident, he was trying to pass a much slower (but much more experienced) Alonso.

      Maldonado won my respect with his drive. Now we just see if he can keep it :P

  15. jay jacob says:

    Alonso or Kimi ???… Was torn between the two coz both did an excellent job in the race.

    Chose Kimi at the end, mainly because the guy’s been away for 2 years but immediately in his 1st race back he’s taking away points from others… not bad for someone who’s still getting used to the Pirellis.

    1. Sebastian says:

      Good point and if one looks at pace, Kimi matched the front runners pretty well when he was released in clean air during his second stint. He also had a brilliant start, but should have tried to stay right in the first corner since a pile up is expected in Australia. He had the pace to end 5th and perhaps 4th had he not been stuck behind slower cars for most of the race.

      With regards to Ferrari, however tricky the car is, it is designed and built for Alonso. A great start and good strategy had him running in free air most of the race. However, Kimis pace in free air was faster and without the safety car he would probably have finished in front of Alonso (according to the Forix race history chart on Autosport).

  16. Joseph F says:

    I would say Button, as he didnt make any mistakes!!!

    Then for pure gritt and excitement my next pick is Ricciardo, considering where he came back from and still managed to finish not 10th but 9th! greate result for him :)

  17. Ade says:

    Kimi, if only for the entertainment value he brought to the race.

  18. Mike J says:

    There were so many good drives yesterday and its hard to single out one. Maybe that is why you left Ricciardo off the list?. Having Senna almost land on him on the first corner, losing his front wing and then going to last place may have deflated some drivers. However he then drove the best GP race of his short career blasting out lap times of the order of 6th or 7th quickest of all the cars on same laps.

    Brilliant recovery…..but I could be biased like some other voters!!

    On your list I went for Raikkonen just ahead of Button. At the track I watched Kimi work through his laps with consistency and seeing it was his first drive back after a long period justifies drive of the day.

    Button did ‘a Vettel’ and we are seeing more of his great drives of late

  19. Lucas says:

    Definitely Alonso. This Ferrari seems to be just as bad as the 2009 Renault. Unless Ferrari comes up with something amazing when they hit Europe, I wouldn’t expect to see Massa getting points, let alone fight for podiums.

  20. Matt says:

    Has to be Button, but also exmained the lap times etc. and agree with the Ricciardo comments. From last to 9th was a top effort.

  21. Paul says:

    Ricciardo

  22. James says:

    People vote Button because he is beating Hamilton, who is rated high. But Hamilton has been nowhere with the Pirelli’s, so that has to stop being new to us. Button won because he had the best car just like Vettel did last year. Driver of the race has to be Alonso.

    1. James Allen says:

      They seem to suit Button better, its true, but Hamilton has set pole positions on Pirellis and has won three races on them

      1. Heinzman says:

        That’s the whole point James, Hamilton sets poles on them then they aren’t in the shape that Button’s are come the the first lap of the race. Having said that he has only had two poles.

        When we were on the Bridgestones he was the scariest driver out there for outright pace but now the rubber has to be managed he does not have that advantage

    2. XH1UNDA says:

      Is Button beating Hamilton because he is a slow driver? Sunday’s race would suggest that Lewis has become slower which is just hard to fanthom. And it cannot be the Pirellis because if you remove his crashes and the team’s mistakes last year, he was still quite handy.
      JA’s comment elsewhere that he seemed subdued all weekend is also worrying – if the guy had just taken pole on Saturday, one expects he would have been fired up for a win on Sunday as on average his starts are better than Button’s and he was on the clean side.

      Let’s see how the next few races go. If they have similar characteristics as Australia, i will start considering the possibility that McLaren have chosen Button as the No.1 driver in the team and Lewis doesn’t like it a bit. But as i said, let’s give it a few more races before jumping to conclusions.

      If this turns out to be the case, then who cares whether McLaren is a championship winning car – he should then switch to Mercedes and hope to recover his career.

      However if on the hand it turns out Whitmarsh is still committed to driver equality – then Lewis needs to get over it, galvanize his garage, be consistent, take on a “continous improvement” attitude and try his best to beat Button by November.

      1. Nick Hipkin says:

        I dont think you can pinpoint it to one thing with Lewis, its a whole combination of factors.
        The cars of 07-08 with the bridgestones that seemingly never wore out and the lighter more lively cars thanks to refuelling suited Lewis down to the ground, much like the understeery michelin’s suited Alonso previously. As we know the 09′ Mclaren was a write off but the switch to slicks and subsequently full tanks took a lot of this away from Lewis, yes he adapted but he no longer had a formula which was suited to his aggressive driving style. Moving to pirelli’s only furthered this and you are now left with cars that require very different styles to the 07-08 version of F1 which he thrived on.
        Lewis has tried to adapt but I sense he is a driver who feels he can succeed on his natural talent alone and F1 doesnt work like that, the fact he has only ever driven Mclaren’s means he will have undoubtedly missed out on some of the versatility a driver learns when they make their way up driving bad cars, thus he doesn’t have the capacity to adapt that say Alonso or Button does.
        Equally this could account for his lack of mental resilience, we all have seen how easily his head goes down. Couple that with the ongoing distractions from his LA lifestyle and you have a driver who doesnt understand why it is no longer coming so easily to him and isnt necessarily prepared to put the work in like say Vettel or even Button to leave no stone unturned in turning it around.
        That said I believe he lost to Button yesterday only on the start, the margins are so fine and all is not lost but in summary the only way he is going to overcome his teammate and Vettel is by working harder than them , staying longer than them at the track, building his own relationships within the team before its too late and facing up to the fact that he isnt going to get by on just talent. He is going to have to graft for a second world title.

      2. AB says:

        Well said. Couldn’t agree more

  23. Dave Aston says:

    Button was my driver of the day, it seems like the first time at McLaren that he’s controlled a race from the front, in dry conditions, but maybe I’m wrong. Maldonado deserves a mention, a great drive until the last lap. I was picturing Frank’s face, watching at home… I wish we saw more of the Kimi/Kamui battle on tv. Ps, I was very disappointed in the commentary, I thought Brundle/Coulthard was a great combo. Two articulate ex drivers. The only non drivers I’ve enjoyed having in the commentary box were Murray Walker and James Allen.

    1. Dick Goodey says:

      Agree it was Button’s day, I think it will turn out to be his season.
      Forget the Sky coverage, tune in to the BBC5Live commentary headed up by James Allen. It’s in HD!

  24. Bayan says:

    I hope ferrari improve the car as i would love to see a race winning car in alonso’s hands. This will make the racing up front that much better.

  25. Doobs says:

    Would have to say Alonso, finishing fifth despite the car, but helped by badly fading or DNF Mercs and the DNF Renault of RG.

  26. Doohan says:

    I voted for kimi. To move up into the points from 17th and be able to race wheel to wheel again was impressive.
    Honorable mention to Riciardo as well. Who I think if not for the first corner incident could’ve challenged with Maldonado and Alonso for 5-6.
    Pity we didn’t get to see hulksnberg complete a lap.

  27. JC Agoglia says:

    Very difficult to select one. I’d place
    Jenson because he won, and steamrolled Lewis…
    But also deserving it:
    Alonso, so much better than his car
    Kobayashi, for catching Kimi sleeping and grabbing an outstanding result
    Vettel, for a brillant drive, good overtaking and getting absolutely the best out of the car.

    I liked Kimi,quite good for his first race after a long time, but can’t endorse him after losing to Kamui.

    Maldonado should have been penalized for destroying the Lotus of Grosjean.

    Ricciardo quite good too, deservedly the TR seat.

    Regarding Lewis, I did not like how he took his 3rd place. However, I wonder… is the new McLaren designed based on Jenson’s strengths primarily?

    1. O.S says:

      “Maldonado should have been penalized for destroying the Lotus of Grosjean.”

      Disagree. I think it had all the hallmarks of a racing incident.

      I think people are upset for Grosjean that he didn’t get an opportunity to deliver his qualifying result in the race.

      That’s understandable- but doesn’t mean that a racing incident should be construed differently.

      If it was Lewis or Kamui people would be praising the “agressive” streak..

      1. JC Agoglia says:

        I like agressive, Kamui has been doing that only with a light touch here and there. I don’t recall him taking the wheel off to any driver.

        Lewis case is a different story, let’s say 2011 is a year to forget and was probably what could have been the rookie year mistakes he did not have in his debut.

        Maldonado will get to be a very good driver, a little slap in the wrist on his drive towards Grosjean should have been appropriate to me…

        Just my view…

      2. O.S says:

        Thanks for your reply. My point was that sometimes in F1 comings together occur which result in one driver being unable to continue, and that penalties for causing such incidents aren’t always appropriate.

        Contrast this incident to Hamilton on Maldonado in Monaco last year- Maldonado had only the barrier to his left and couldn’t really have done anything to avoid the contact.

        Grosjean did admittedly leave room but Maldonado was more aggressive than Grosjean thought and held his line – Grosjean could have taken avoiding action onto the run-off if he wanted to.

        If Maldonado was a rookie and that was his first race the stewards may have taken a different view – as it was my conclusion is that Maldonado was aggressive and his actions did cause Grosjean to retire but this is motor racing and these things happen regularly without the need for penalties to be dished out.

        After all, surely the point of such penalties would be to discourage the behaviour – iin this case aggressive overtakes – and I’d argue that’s not something we want as fans.

  28. Holly says:

    Alonso, Button did great but you have to take into account the car, and the McL is way better than the Ferrari.

  29. Kay says:

    1. Alonso – for putting the car in the wrong place of the finishing order.

    2. Button – for out-pacing race favourite Hamilton and winning the race with 100% control. Safety Car restart worth a mention.

    3. Raikkonen – Superb performance on his return. Had he qualified Q2 / Q3, he’d have finished higher up. Seems like he’s never been away!

    4. Hamilton – Drove a fine race even though things didn’t go his way. Could cheer up a bit though!

    5. Webber – Drove his nuts off to try (although failed to) and get the last podium finish.

    1. W Bennet says:

      Perhaps you give Alonso too much credit? Even Alonso said he thouhgt Ferrari positions would improve during the race due to the weather mixing up qualifying positions.

      1. MISTER says:

        and what weather changes have you experienced at Albert Park on Sunday???

      2. W Bennet says:

        You misunderstood the point I made I think. Mixed weather on Friday affected qualy positions for the race so middle ranking teams were higher placed at the start of the race than might be expected. Similarly, Alonso was expected to improve his position during the race.

      3. MISTER says:

        W Bennet – I did misunderstood your point..but having explaind what you meant..I still think it wouldn’t have changed much. Remember that the weather in qualy was the same for everybody..wasn’t it?

      4. Wild Man says:

        It rained on Friday. This affected team preparation on Friday. This would have affected qualifying on SATURDAY. If you think otherwise, you are dreaming.

        It also happened to rain two years ago on the Sunday at Albert Park. Jenson Button went onto to win the race in demanding conditions.

      5. Craig in SG says:

        It rained on everyone on Friday – not just Ferrari

    2. Jason C says:

      No Vettel after THAT move on Rosberg? Better IMO than Hamilton’s drive. Agree that Alonso may be driving like one of the best ever – but thanks to Massa’s drop in performance, we’ll never know.

  30. Scott says:

    I’d like to see the graphs of race pace like you showed last year. I think we’ll find Ricciardo put in some times that would have placed him a lot higher in the final standings.

  31. Brisbane Bill says:

    If Ricciardo had been an option I would have gone for him as DOTD – Tim, post 3, explains very well why that should be. If Maldonado hadn’t crashed on the last lap then he would have got it. However, I have given it to Alonso as he was fighting both the car and a host of other drivers every lap of the race and brought the Ferrari home way ahead of where it should have been on the day.

  32. AlexD says:

    I understand that normally the guy who wins the race is more likely to be picked as a driver of the day, but not this time. Button did amazing job, no doubt. BUT – look at Alonso. I was not even dreaming for him to finish 5th, behind Red Bull and McLaren. If you look at Alonso only, you think the car is not so bad and that they can quickly improve and start winning. His abilities are simply beyond what other people can offer and the constant gap to Massa?

    Alonso is my driver of the day!

    1. JohnBt says:

      If not for Alonso, Ferrari will really look silly. Remember how Schumi waited for 4 years.

      1. Webbo says:

        Yes Schumi indeeed waited 4 years before he won the title. He even broke a leg to prevent him winning the 99 title. That said, how long will Alonso wait? Less than 4 years or more?

  33. Leo says:

    Alonso is THE MAN !
    What a crappy car yet he was there driving the wheels off that car, as always he never gives up!
    If he had a Mac or a Bull he would have disappeared into
    the distance!!

    1. JohnBt says:

      That’s why I like it when Alonso does not get a good car. We get a chance to see him fight, or else he will be running away with the championship and we’ll be bored all too soon.

  34. Jason says:

    It has to be Kimi considering the two year break. Intersting that he has scored points in all first races with a new team – ice cold.
    Button did what should be expected, and brilliantly so. Perez did great and as it looks right now is better off in a Sauber than a Ferrari.

  35. John says:

    Hi James

    I hope you enjoyed our Aussie hospitality. Could you tell me what Seb Vettel meant in his press conference about ‘our master plan’? Has Redbull still have a huge development that will steadily evolve as the season goes on? I am intrigued. Missed the race but will be watching the replay tonight.

    1. James Allen says:

      I guess so. He was probably being a bit tongue in cheek – that is his style sometimes

  36. surya kumar says:

    I agree with Alex, Even though being a hardcore Mclaren Fan, You have to admit that Alonso is the complete driver out there. He did an amazing job in keeping Maldano at bay and bring the car back home in one peiece, The points being an additional bonus. As the commentators were putting it, If Alonso cannot win in that Ferrari then nobody can.

    1. saleh says:

      Well,Kimi did it in 2009 with much worse ferrari than this ferrari
      if Alonso is a great driver like all people say,why didn’t he even win in Spa circuit?
      the real champion wins in spa
      so alonso is another failure for ferrari

      1. Kay says:

        Everyone has their own abilities in various tracks. doesn’t mean everyone gotta win at Spa to be the most complete driver and win the DOTD.

        Kimi excels at Spa, Alonso is best at other tracks (Monza as mentioned previously by James or someone), Jenson adaptable to changing weather, Kobayashi for overtaking, etc.

        Mod says – please don’t aim angry comments at other readers. You’ve done it a few times and it uses up moderator time. Please observe the rules or we’ll simply cut the whole comment

  37. Shane Govern says:

    Driver of the day to me means the driver who performed out of the ordinary all things considered. Buttons drive was very composed but in my mind it wasn’t anything other than I expected given the fact that it seems the McLaren is a very good car both in qualifying and race trim. I have always said Button is a better driver than Hamilton as being a successful F1 driver these days is not just about being blindingly fast over one lap. There are only a small handful of modern day F1 drivers who are the complete package.

    For me the driver of the day title goes to Alonso because his performance was in my humble opinion the best out there. We all know the equipment he has isn’t up to par but his performance in the race was typical of him! Again in my humble opinion, he is the most complete driver in the field and I just wish Ferrari would give him a car to prove that!!

    James, any more information on this ‘brand new car’ that you mentioned Ferrari were working on?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not a brand new car, a revised car that may require a new crash test, probably one of the ones to do with the sidepods. That’s what Italian colleagues are telling me.

    2. Kay says:

      I agree with Shane here.

  38. Dave B says:

    JA, Where is Ricciardo in the list?

  39. Tay says:

    Vettel.

    Most drivers can pick up 7 places in the mid or back of the pack. Only Vettel can pick up 4 places against 4 other world champions. “He has the best car” arguments are moot. Webber didn’t do much. A good car is necessary, but not sufficient for a good performance.

    1. james says:

      Well said. Vettel was unbelievable.

    2. Alfi says:

      Vettels pass on Rosberg was nothing short of sublime. But your points on picking up 4 places on 4 past WDC’s is moot. As it definitely wasn’t due to his driving skills. He did drive a good race though. And while Webber had a clutch issue at the start ( fact ) his times ( live timing ) were of considerable note. [mod]

      1. Pandabear says:

        Webber did drive very hard! Bad start once again, was on the tail of Rosberg ( with the F-duct) was actually held up by Rosberg and Alonso, once released, he flew! look at the times he put in! Then he sat on Hamiltons rear till the end. i think he drove better than Vettel, and the car seems to suit him better this year, or he has got use to the Tyres.He has a serious problem with the starts. Fix this and I think he might have a chance!

    3. JT says:

      Hardly. He had a good start and a great overtake. Didn’t do anything spectacular other that that. Gained a place as Schumacher dropped out, and another due to the safety car.

      1. Trey says:

        Sounds like that summary could easily apply to Button too.

      2. JT says:

        Except he won. And even with the help of the safety car, Vettel didn’t manage to get close to Button.

    4. JF says:

      Agreed: Vettel was great

  40. Rafael says:

    It’s again a tough decision between Button and Alonso, but I’ll have to go with Jenson on this one again bec. he won the race. But by no means was Fernando any less stellar — he was superb all weekend, even when you take into account his spin in Q2.

  41. JohnBt says:

    Button and Alonso was the obvious choice.

    But I voted Perez who was right at the back and finished 8th.
    Almost voted Maldonado if not for the last lap crash.

    Horner said Red Bull is down but not out, he’s feeling the pressure already from the first race. I like that though. Just hope drivers and teams keep chewing into each others point throughout this season.

  42. Andrew J says:

    JB – controlled the race from the start and restart, kept it clean, and brought home the victory.

    Vettel got DOTD several times last year for doing just that – it seems rather odd that when Button does it so many people dismiss it!

    Alonso drove superbly, as ever. Deserves to be in a far better car.

    1. Trey says:

      If that’s true, then fair play. I though Vettell rarely id ever won DoTD in 2011 for having superior machinery.

      As i remember it JB was rightly awarded DoTD several times last year for doing exactly what Vettell, Alonso and other did in this race.

      I think DoDT is probably not the best way to analyse the race, due to the very different circumstances the drivers face. It’s hardly a level playing field. I like how some other sites award a ‘Winners & Losers’ of the race. That way the winner and fantastic drives can be highlighted equally.

    2. StallionGP F1 says:

      Where did Vettel get DotD so many times thats a joke.

  43. Anup Kadam says:

    The driver of the day has to be without doubt Fernando Alonso…

  44. AuraF1 says:

    Button because it might finally shut up some of the nonsense about him only winning races gifted to him or in changeable conditions.

    Though I suppose you would have to define ‘driver of the day’ – is that performing well above expectations? Outperforming their team mate? The car? Or just plain old entertainment value?

    The fascinating thing for me was how calm button was. Over the radio jenson calmly asking how vettel was faring so he could judge the restart was quite telling of his state of mind.

    1. JT says:

      People also seem to be neglecting the fact that the McLaren’s were running low on fuel, and were apparently in fuel-saving mode during most of the race.

      1. StallionGP F1 says:

        If they were running low on fuel then they are in more trouble as Buttons fastest lap was just a tenth faster than Vettel

      2. Steven Pritchard says:

        What is your logic?

        Optimum fuel = faster race, having too little fuel is just as bad as having too much.

  45. james encore says:

    Hard call this one, because the race had a lot of good performances.
    Button, good start and then … When you lead from the first corner and no one challenges you DotD is not the “Not screwing up” award?
    Vettel, made a couple of places and got lucky with the safety car. But proved he can do more than … well, lead from the first corner and not screw up
    Maldonado would have had it hands down, but he crashed on the last lap. (I’m a Williams fan, and I need convincing that he isn’t any more than a rent-a-drive guy, and this would have been it.)
    Sauber drivers for mid-field excitement ? Possibly. Kimi for his charge through the field possibly? Doubly for his comic radio call “Why am I getting always blue flags ??” “They are not for you”. In the end, the one driver who really out drove his car was Alonso.

  46. LT says:

    Jenson for sure….absolutely peerless!

  47. Nick says:

    I’m a Button fan but went for Vettel- some great overtakes and beat Lewis in a slower car.

    1. A-Z says:

      Where did Vettel beat Lewis . . I can’t see that. Safety car beat Lewis, not Vettel.

      Vettel only overtake Rosberg once, whcih I didn’t see how good on that move, beside that is nothing.

      Qualifying Pace doesn’t mean the same race pace, so who can say RBR is slower car in the race.

  48. Rishi says:

    Hmm. So Vettel wins dominantly on many occasions last year, and is never voted DotD. Then Button wins dominantly in a very eventful race where many drivers drove very well and, erm, currently leads the DotD! It certainly was a textbook drive from Jenson, and a crucial psychological boost in the intra-team battle, but I’m not sure his performance was the best of all drivers.

    Personally I was torn between Alonso and Sergio Perez. I think if Perez had held onto 7th (which would have then been 6th after Maldonado’s crash) I would have gone for him; I never would have thought he could have made a 1-stop work when he was getting passed by everyone round laps 20-23, though an SC helped.

    With Alonso I wonder whether he is the representative benchmark for the car’s outright pace, or whether he is in some sense ‘transcending the car’ with his drives. I have often wondered this before with Fernando; last year and also during the 2008 + ’09 Renault years. On balance I felt his performance did flatter the Ferrari F2012 yesterday, so for me he was DotD despite a slow final stint.

    Finally, interesting to hear so many positives for Daniel Ricciardo. I didn’t follow the timing screens, but if he really was consistently very fast then certainly one to watch this season.

  49. Paul H says:

    Got to be Alonso for me. Can’t believe he got Clifford to fifth place. The amount of input the drivers were having to give the car was ridiculous, really sawing away at the wheel. It appears from the outside that they have real difficulty placing the car exactly where they want it, not ideal in a close racing situation at high speed.

    Button was a close second for a flawless display of the talent so many Hamilton fans are unable to acknowledge. Superb drive and long may it continue.

    Both Sauber and Torro Rosso drivers had great days too, I’m looking forward to the inter team battles in those outfits this year.

  50. Richard D says:

    Whilst all the candidates put in worthy performances, my vote had to go to Button as he drove a perfect race, not putting a foot wrong all day. Had it not been for the safety car he was heading for a win by a margin of 15-20 secs.

  51. JC Agoglia says:

    Can’t believe that Vettel got only 74 votes as of now…

  52. mo kahn says:

    Even though I voted for Kimi (Strictly on grounds of passion) I think Jenson and Alonso are worthy of every vote they are getting :)

  53. Richard A says:

    Button was flawless. Hamilton screwed up his start but otherwise had a good afternoon abeit with an unlucky safety car.

    I like the comparison of Maldonado to Sato. He has shown he can be quick, but I really don’t rate Pastor on his performance to date. Too unreliable.

    There were a lot of candidates for Driver of the Day, but purely for the superhuman effort required to get that dog of a Ferrari from 12th to 5th, I voted for Fernando.

  54. Andy C says:

    It was a close one between Jenson, Fernando and Pastor in my view.

    At a push, I’d say Pastors performance (barring the late accident) was the standout performance.

    Absolutely excellent to see some positive prospects for Williams.

    Great drives also from jenson, who just bossed the race and opened up suitable gaps at the right points.

    Fernando just did a typical alonso performance. The guy for me is the most complete driver on the grid.

    I continue to be slight bemused with Lewis. Obviously things didnt go as well as he wished for. He comes across to me as far to mentally fragile. He shouldnt be showing that dissapointment after the first race. I’d hate him to leave McLaren, but I almost feel like he’s convinced himself that that is what is needed.

    The thing is, I just dont understand why its so up and down. If he wins he’s absolutely on top of the world, and if he loses its the end of it. The great champions of our time had a mental toughness that I’m not convinced Lewis has. This is no doubt the biggest challenge of his career.

  55. JF says:

    I’ll start by saying Button was fantastic, got my vote. I still find it interesting that last year, Vettel never got driver of the day on this site, never close. In fact, usually slammed and criticized for having a fast car. If the Mclaren is dominant this year, I expect the Mclaren boys will still get driver of the day repeatedly.

  56. graham.reeds says:

    “Put a good move on Romain Grosjean in the early laps”. You mean the move where he tried to force Grosjean off the track and when Romain wouldn’t go any further (despite being off the track) Maldonado still went further and broke the steering arm on the Lotus?

  57. Trevor Y says:

    For me, it had to be JB, he was absolutely in control throughout the whole race.

    But I thought there were a lot of outstanding drives, as many have mentioned, Alonso was supreme in wrestling the Ferrari around in a place it should never have been.

    Watching the race times I was surprised at how competitive so many of the drivers were, especially Vergne and Ricciardo for much of the race. Will be interesting to see how they both go for the rest of the year. Ricciardo was especially impressive given the unfortunate first lap he had.

    Overall a fantastic first race of the year and I’m really looking forward to see how the rest of the year unfolds.

  58. Kevin Green says:

    Hard to pick out exactly but certainly either Alonso Richardo or Maldonado but for his crash

  59. Nismo F1 says:

    A good race, strange at the start of the race with Hamilton, looks like the car was stuck with lots of wheel spin and hence losing the start. Normally Hamilton is good starter, wasn’t expecting that. I would have preferred a bit of an Alain Vs Aryton style of battle but in a good way.
    One thing to point out James, that both Mclaren’s running with fuel saving? (if they carried on with great speed they would have run out) at what point of the race could we explain the gap between Jenson and Hamilton before first pit stops?. We have not seen the true pace of Mclaren yet, especially with combinations of high and low speed tracks like next weeks GP Malaysia or China GP….Anyway James good luck with the rest of 2012 coverage.

  60. Nismo F1 says:

    Button has improved a lot and his confidence is getting better, he can control tyre wear and be aggressive whenever required. Hopefully we can see more battles between Button and Hamilton, which would be epic, like 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton. More importantly Mclaren really are craving for the constructors championship they have missed since 1998. I can see Hamilton getting the Pole lap and the wins soon, who knows next week Hamilton could win the Malaysian GP, providing he can sort out that start procedure between himself and the engineers. He has started to learn from Jenson i.e. not over driving and making silly mistakes.

  61. anonymous says:

    After first voting Perez and thinking it over, I have to say Maldonado was the man of the race. Grosjean had lost the corner and he did not back off just enough – Maldonado could have left him more space true, but he was on the racing line and he had gone past Gosjean and it seems the stewards saw it likewise. Had it not been for the last lap, Maldonado drove a flawless race and extracted almost everything the Williams had to offer. I tend to believe that Barrichello could have done slightly better, but not much. Yes, Button drove a good and controlled race, but that was nothing really special and I do not think he had to push overly hard either. Alonso would be in my top three aswell – he surely had a great race. Since Massa screwed up so hard, it’s hard to tell if this was just a disastrous week-end for him, or if he just can’t handle the beast while Alonso can.
    I tend to believe that if Massa screws up the next three races like this one, he will be replaced no matter what it costs. And the best driver on the Market to date would be Sutil.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sutil’s stock isn’t terribly high these days after what happened in the German courts over the nightclub incident

  62. Russell says:

    Someone else already made the point. Massa was once fast and was unlucky to lose the driver’s championship to Lewis in the last few turns of the last lap of the final race.

    But now, he is fading fast for whatever reasons. Is Alonso so good, or is it just Massa being so weak? Or is it both? Two more races like this and I don’t see Ferrari keeping him even this year.

    Kimi was lots of fun. His blue flag episode was great comic relief.

    And Fast Lewis. His handlers and PR people have their work cut out for them.

  63. Tyler says:

    You could clearly see what a handful the Ferrari was. It looked like a back of the grid car the way it was dancing around. Alonso seems to be able to adapt and to drive around problems like few others.

    All these guys are great in a good car, with little between them, it’s when the car is not good that real talent reveals itself. I think his drive was remarkable.

  64. Jez says:

    GO KIMI. Not bad for a come back kid, has been with no motivation…

  65. Has to be Button for winning despite being in fuel saving mode for almost the entire race.

    I would have voted for Maldonado had he not made that stupid mistake on the final lap.

    Kimi and Alonso were certainly the other two drivers in consideration.

  66. VV says:

    Button, by a country mile. He made it look easy, and was in control at all times.

    Not driver of day: Maldonado. Throwing it away on the last lap is utterly stupid. All that fine effort, wasted.

  67. Blade Runner says:

    There can only be one man in this poll.

    “Set his car up for the race” Well done Jenson, going to be a good fight this year with Vettel me thinks.

  68. I voted for Perez. Maldonado was good, but ultimately binned it in the wall, and had it not also been for an earlier mistake, he would have been ahead of Webber on the road too, so he could actually have been as high as fourth.

    Button controlled the race and always looked like he had more in hand; Raikkonen did well to come from his lowly grid position from seventh, and Alonso did very well to come home fifth (although he did make a mistake into turn one at one point).

    But ultimately, I’ve given my vote to Perez because, not only did he come from last on the grid, and not only did he make a one stop strategy work, but he made places up early on in the race on prime tyres, and it was only that, along with the safety car, that gave him any realistic hope of points in the race. Yes, the safety car, definitely helped him with the tyres, but he pulled off a strategy that to be honest probably shouldn’t have worked, it worked because he did a great job in the opening third of the race and managed his tyres well in the final third.

  69. Serrated_Edge says:

    Driver of the day? easy…..Jenson was in a class of his own.

  70. Paul says:

    James,

    Is this driver of the day or driver of the weekend? Just want to be sure before voting for Jenson ;)

  71. Dan says:

    Personally I’d just like to comment to say that I think it’s fantastic there is such a spirit debate over who is Driver Of The Day and that there are even suggestions for people who could be added to that list- it confirms my hopes that 2012 will be one of the most exciting seasons I’ve seen!

    Personally (while I know many might disagree), this is one of the most exciting season openers I’ve ever witnessed, so I do think some people on here need to learn to agree to disagree and all appreciate the fact there are some amazing performers on the grid this year!

  72. Lynn says:

    Kimi.

    Great comeback after 2 years TOTALLY out of F1.

  73. Adam says:

    I was standing at Turn 9 all race. Jensen had his car through that turn ‘on rails’ every lap. Very impressive. I would not usually vote for someone would led from start to finish either.

  74. unabashedly Aussie says:

    Like many of the previous responses I am suprised Ricciardo was not there to vote for. Such a composed drive after 1st corner incident. Many others would have had their heads down after being effectively shunted to the back of the pack.
    Ricciado’s joy is a breath of fresh air when compared to Mr Personality Raikonnen. Even Webber could lighten up a little

    My “Goose of the Weekend” would have to be Rosberg. How he wasn’t penalized for holding Webber up, using the Escape road into corner before pitting.
    The other Goose would have to include Maldonardo for punting Grosjean. Karma hey? that Maldonardo went into the wall on the last lap

  75. Nicole says:

    Can’t believe Seb has only got 2.7% of the votes, even less than Perez or Maldonodo. This is absolutely not fair. He deserves better than that.

  76. Ryan says:

    I’m another one who thinks that Ricciardo was the driver of the day. Shame he wasn’t on the list.

  77. Steven Pritchard says:

    Button showing again that his style of driving is underrated (even though he ain’t “cool” like Hamilton), the Maccy’s had plenty of pace in the bag (getting the fuel loads right would be a great start). But plenty of people could have won in that car (not saying they could have beaten Button though before I get flamed).

    I voted for Alonso, driving a complete dog of a car, fifth place. His team mate was nowhere. ‘Nuff said.

  78. Kev says:

    I remember a guy called Vettel used to get pole, control races and not put a foot wrong all through last year but I don’t recall him getting the driver of the day for quite a few reasons like ‘he had the best machine, he cannot overtake’, blah blah.

    Jenson had the fastest car, was beaten by his teammate in qualifying, yet he is the DOTD?

    Double standards to say the least!

    Anyways my DOTD would be Alonso again. Until Ferrari give him a car that is as fast or faster than McLaren/RB, if he continues to get these important points, he will always be the DOTD for me.

    Thanks for the amazing articles, James.

    Any idea if Ferrari will fare better in Malaysia? Since they seem to lack mechanical grip as per some articles and Australia being a street circuit probably demanded such a setup. But I am not sure if Malaysia will be similar to it? Will it play to Ferrari’s strength (if there is any)?

  79. just to add to my earlier post re ricciardo, now that i have had time to check the facts, they are, prima facie, that almost all drivers benefited from the safety car, including button who was able to conserve fuel otherwise, as he was beyond marginal, he may have to have turned it down in order to finish.

    ricci’s extra pit stop after the first lap cost him 24secs. his elapsed time at the finish was 39.5 secs off the winning time. deduct 24secs from that and he was in-between webber and alonso for 5th place. a great drive.

    yes, a long bow but the exercise has merit.

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