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Japanese Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Oct 2012   |  8:46 pm GMT  |  179 comments

Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to win back-to-back races this season but there were plenty of strong performances throughout the field. Who was your driver of the day?

Sebastian Vettel

Looked quick in Friday practice and followed that up with a stunning lap in his first run in qualifying to start on pole position in Japan for the fourth successive year. Made a textbook start to avoid the carnage behind him and from then on controlled the race at the front to win his second successive race and third of the season. Victory also moved him to joint-eighth on the all-time list alongside Juan Manuel Fangio on 24 as well as bringing him to within four points of championship leader Fernando Alonso.

Felipe Massa

Arrived in Japan fighting for his Ferrari seat for 2013 but was immediately on the pace and was consistently beating his more illustrious team-mate Alonso. Looked quick in the first session of qualifying, but didn’t deliver when it mattered in Q2 and qualified 11th. That became 10th following Nico Hulkenberg’s gearbox penalty. Starting on fresh tyres, the Brazilian blasted out of the blocks, avoiding the first corner carnage to run fourth early on. Jumped both Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi during the stops to move into second. Couldn’t keep pace with Vettel but drove well to finish second and score his first podium since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix.

Kamui Kobayashi

Faced question marks over his future at Sauber and was under pressure to perform in front of his home crowd. Delivered strong pace in practice and achieved one of his best qualifying results by finishing fourth fastest. That became third following Button’s gearbox penalty. Avoided the first corner mess to run second but dropped to third when Massa leapfrogged him during the stops. Withstood strong pressure from Button in the closing stages to finish third and score his first F1 podium and first for a Japanese driver on home soil since Aguri Suzuki in 1990.

Kimi Raikkonen

Qualified seventh and had a good start pulling alongside Alonso before tapping the Ferrari driver on the approach to Turn One. Picked up damage to his front wing from the contact but managed to continue. Ran strongly from then, and though he lost fifth place to Hamilton, held on to finish sixth – his 14th points finish in 15 races.

Nico Hulkenberg

Put himself on the back foot by crashing in Saturday practice, but did a super job to get himself out of Q1 having been rushed into the car with only a few minutes remaining. Reached Q3, but dropped back five places from 10th because the gearbox had to be changed following damage. Drop strongly from 15th to rise up to eighth by the end of the lap. Race strongly to make another place and finish seventh – his seventh points finish of the season.

Pastor Maldonado

Outpaced Williams team-mate Bruno Senna once more in both practice and qualifying, but failed to make it into Q3 and started 12th. Made a clean start and kept his nose clean, gradually making up places to run eighth. Held on to that position to score his first points finish since taking his first and only victory in the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Daniel Ricciardo

Started 14th but lost a position to Hulkenberg as he struggled to get away. Made some places up thanks to the first corner incident and enjoyed a good battle with Mark Webber in the middle part of the race. Held off Michael Schumacher brilliantly in the closing stages to finish 10th for his fourth points finish of the season.

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179 Comments
  1. Matthew says:

    I’d love to say Kobayashi was driver of the day, and it would be well deserved for him to be so. But in the end, for me it has to be Massa. He was ahead of Alonso pretty much the whole weekend, and his first podium in two years was earned on merit. A bloody brilliant race, and one that I hope revives the Felipe that used to thrill us so consistently.

    1. Sebee says:

      I know they don’t focus cameras on the leader as much, but I can’t believe the voting here. Perfect race, you guys dismiss Vettel as if he won by default. I’m now officially cheering for Vettel to take this WDC, just to go against the masses.

      Hopefully looking at those behind Vettel we can all see the importance of a perfect weekend. Delivering that perfection is absolutely worth DOTD

      1. Stuart Harrison says:

        It’s not about who won, otherwise it wouldn’t be a vote. It’s about who achieved more than was expected. Most people would look at Vettel on pole at a circuit like Suzuka and expect him to win by a mile, which he did.

        The clear weight of opinion favours those who achieved a surprise result given recent form: Massa and Kobayashi in this case.

        For me, Kobayashi could be forgiven for giving in to the pressure of Button throughout the race, but he didn’t – he raised his game and delivered the first podium of his career in a car that can’t easily be described as a front-runner. For that he deserves it more than Massa (a close 2nd IMO) and way more than Vettel.

        Yes, Vettel drove a perfect race, but he wasn’t under pressure at any point during that race; Kamui had to deal with it for most of the race!

        Clear winner and I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking so.

      2. Veteran says:

        Look at every race that Vettel has dominated. Never has he won the vote. Even races that he started 12th and finished 2nd. Never ever does Vettel win the poll.
        This says a lot about the crowd voting.

      3. Wayne says:

        Veteran, perhaps it says a lot about Vettel and how he is perceived?

        I too am glad Kobayashi won.

      4. Miha Bevc says:

        It’s true.

        When Hamilton/Button/Alonso wins from pole it’s always “perfect weekend, controled every lap of the race, driver of the day by default”. When Vettel does the same it’s always “nothing special, too expected, he can’t overtake”.

        This forum has the highest level of debate around (in my opinion), but it’s still biased. But there’s nothing you can do, I guess.

      5. Jeff says:

        The vast majority of races this year have been won by the guy who exited turn 1 of the first lap in the lead. If you are leading, you can conserve the tyres better than everyone else, control the pace, and win much more easily.

        Seb had a massive advantage in quali with Adrian’s DDRS, and once the first corner was over, barring another alternator failure, his victory was a foregone conclusion. He’s also going to come unstuck one of these days putting in unnecessarily quick laps at the end of a race.

        Good on Kamui for taking the Sauber to a solid podium, while his allegedly better teammate put it in the kitty litter.

      6. Wayne says:

        Here’s the thing – people do not like him (SV). People see him as spoilt and with a huge sense of entitlement and a bit of a prat when things go wrong. Hamilton suffers the same thing.

        Now, I realise it is not ‘personality of the day’ and it should be judged on tallent and performance, but that people for you.

        The racing fan in me knows how well he drove all weekeknd, recognises how hard it must be to not put a foot wrong at 200 mmph over about 5 hours (including all sessions) – but I cannot vote for him. I do not like him (or I should say I do not like his public persona because I do not know him), or anything about his team. There are many boring and small reasons why.

        Here are a few:

        Newey bugs the hell out of me – he spent the last two years moaning about other teams copying RBR but happily does exactly the same at every single opportunity. It’s like the bloke feels that he should have the monopoly on greatness.

        Dieter and Helmut come across as start staring mad in some of their media quotes. Their worship of Vettel is nausiating and offputting and their comments betray their shared belief that they are entitled to supremacy.

        I spent quite a while listening to pundits telling me what a calm, centred guy Vettel is – yet he is just as capable of throwing his dummy out of the pram when things do not go his way.

        Vettel won his last WDC way to easily. That is annoying (not his fault) but annoying all the same.

        Vettel has recived preferential treatment over Webber quite a few times. Webber is well liked so this too is annoying. When he took Webber off in Turky (and he definitely did) seeing him make ‘mad’ signs and Webber and seeing Horner hugging Vettel after was cringworthy. Hearing Hemet publicly blame Webber was down right infuriating.

        I could go on…… I don’t disagree with you but people (fans) cannot help being people.

      7. James Allen says:

        It’s a real shame because if you knew him, how down to earth he is, funny etc you would almost certainly like him as a person

        The perception with VET is very different from the reality

        Other drivers less so

      8. Sebee says:

        So Hamilton would get your vote but Seb doesn’t, even though in.your eyes – same personalities. Interesting.

      9. quest says:

        Exactly James. Also it is not necessary to like Vettel to acknowledge how good he is. People can have their preferences. But they should stop pretending they are being objective.

        If even after winning 3 back to back titles( most likely), if they are unable to acknowledge that Vettel is one the best what is the point of spending so much time following the sport.

      10. Miha Bevc says:

        Have you seen Vettel on Top Gear? Or in Letterman Show? (YouTube it) Or in any other public event away from race tracks? He’s just a regular guy, you could at least give him a chance…

      11. Steve says:

        The thing Hamilton, mostly I suspect as a result of the large UK based readership of this site, does not suffer the same treatment in these votes.

        In fact there are some weeks where James doesn’t include Hamilton in the vote because he has a DNF or finishes behind where he started people ask in the comments why he wasn’t an option!

        Being viewed as a primadona only seems to be a problem if you don’t hold the right passport.

      12. Wayne says:

        Agreed, James, it is a shame. Not that he’d be bothered what I think – but I’ll trust your word (we trust you on everything else here right?) and cut the guy a break.

        I’m not sure (again because I do not know him) that I’d enjoy a beer with Hamilton either – but he is exciting and brilliant and something for Brits to be proud of.

        Someone said on another site recently that Schumi has matured into the sort of guy that you might want to take on a trip up Everest whereas you would not have ten years ago. And that sort of maturity may have something to do with why his most recent career has not been as successful as it might have been. He put it better than me – but you get the idea.

        All we have as fans are soundbites and press coverage. Luckily some trusted journo’s are about to balance it out.

      13. Wayne says:

        quest, I clearly was not pretending to be objective.

        Steve, do you have any idea how much rubbish Hamilton gets in the Uk from the media and from many lesser quality websites? The comments about him far outstrip anything I hear said about Vettel.

        I was not defending other or myself – just trying to be honest.

      14. Chromatic says:

        vis James’s comment above, to me Vettel comes across as a very nice middle class kid. He probably has the best manners in F1.
        Of all the drivers I suspect he is the most pleasant and interesting to have a drink with. I could be very wrong, of course, having never met a racing driver in the flesh.

      15. Dave Deacon says:

        I agree with much of what you say. To answer James, I think much of what a driver truly is is shown in the media. I think what you see privately is more cultured and so controlled. Vettel is what he is in the raw not the façade of everyday life.

      16. deancassady says:

        I agree that Webber is a cool guy, and likeable, and I would like it if he won a world championship; and all that stuff you said about preferential treatment of Vettel, and especially the Marko, whew! I agree with it.
        But Vettel has upped his game, and he was already around the top.
        Since Budpest, look at the races again, and watch how Vettel has driven! Before Red Bull got their latest technical magic, they were quite a bit back, especially in qualifying. But watch Vettel’s drives, and you will agree with me, that he has gone up another gear.
        I haven’t been a Vettel fan, for the same reasons you have sited, but he’s been driving so good, and gritty; something we haven’t really seen too much of before.

      17. Smeghead says:

        Funny, I’ve always viewed Vettel as a mischevious little bugger. He’s obviously hardcore about F1 given his knowledge of the history of the sport, and he always seems like he’s up for a laugh. I damn near pissed myself at his Nigel Mansell impression a while back.

        For what it’s worth, I voted Massa on this one as 2nd place in the current Ferrari after starting 11th is a far higher achievement in my eyes than winning from pole in what was an absolutely stunning Red Bull this past weekend.

      18. quest says:

        Wayne,

        I was not talking about you.

        I was talking about people who attribute Vettel’s success to luck and try to come up with reasons why he is not one of the best.

      19. Steve says:

        Wayne, did I not make it specific enough for you when I said “The thing Hamilton, mostly I suspect as a result of the large UK based readership of this site, does not suffer the same treatment in these votes.”?

        I’m not talking about the press (pretty clearly I thought), I’m talking about the ‘fanboys’ on this site. As I said, there have been times when has had a DNF and users have still commented here saying they are disappointed he is not listed in the vote.

      20. Rufus Matthews says:

        In 2010 and 2011 I was lucky enough to see Vettel at the British Grand Prix after party and he was great. He has a good sense of humour, he plays the guitar and he actually really appreciates the fans of the sport. I’ll not forget that he was the only driver who decided to take a photo of the crowd as opposed to everyone just taking photos of him. To me he seems a thouroghly likeable young man. On the podium this weekend he actively showed his appreciation of the Japanese fans.

        As a driver he is great too. This season he has on many occasions fought hard to get good results. He does dominate from the front when he is there but time and again he is has been down the field fights his way through in a car that is reputed to be difficult to overtake in due to lack of straight line speed. For example 10th to 2nd in Spa. I also well remember the 2010 British Grand fight back drive and then a similar drive in Monza 2010.

      21. zx6dude says:

        Sebee, I don’t particularly like Vettel, but I agree with you, he had a flawless race, deserves driver of the day. KK and FM were impressive though. Loved to see them both on the podium

      22. Matthew says:

        I don’t discount that Vettel drove a sterling race. But for him, it was just a typical drive. The same cannot be said of the results for Massa and Kobayashi. For me, that is the difference between Vettel and Massa getting driver of the day. I am not British (Canadian here), nor am I particularly a fan of Button, Hamilton, or Alonso. There is no inherent bias in my vote. I simply feel that Massa and Kobayashi were both more deserving of DOTD. And that’s really as far as it goes.

      23. Sebee says:

        Good to know perfection is now typical. :-)

      24. jv says:

        I would agree with you if it wasn’t for the fact that Vettel is also in a far better car than Kobayashi and likely a better car than Massa. The fact that RB owned the front row and by a margin attests to that.

        Personally I thought it should go to Massa but I am also OK with it going to Kobayashi. They both had great drives that they should be proud of.

      25. Sebee says:

        No luck involved in those P2 and P3 results?

    2. Sebee says:

      Just checked – Button wins from pole in Spa, gets voted DOTD. Suzuka is not really a drivers circuit like Spa. Right?

      1. Doug says:

        Both Drivers circuits…love the older tracks!

        The Red Bull was way quicker than anything else out there…so I couldn’t give it to Seb.
        I would have given it to Button though. Qualified 3rd, gets put back due to a gearbox penalty. Keeps his nose clean through the 1st lap carnage & really only lost 2nd position due to McLaren making 2 rather large errors:

        1/ He should have stayed out longer before his first stop…his tyres were still good & they knew that Massa with newer tyres would go longer.

        2/ He should have had the option tyre on for his last stint…they knew that there was very little performance difference between the Sauber & the McLaren in the race…it’s a tricky track to overtake on…”let’s go with the hard tyre” Doh!

        In spite of this & gearbox sync issues after the stops JB nearly had 3rd.

      2. jv says:

        >”Both Drivers circuits…love the older tracks!”

        This.

        The new camera angles especially at spoon really help to show how much elevation change there is at Suzuka. That is some thing that has been missing from watching these tracks on TV and some thing I hope they look at more in the future. If we get to Texas and they shoot it in a way that hides the elevation change I will be miffed.

      3. Sebastian says:

        Suzuka is considered to be a drivers circuit.

      4. Sebee says:

        Of course it is. That’s why if Button wins from pole at Spa and gets DOTD it is equal Suzuka win from pole for.DOTD. But I am now seeing perhaps a British fans not able to judge those two driver nationalities equally even.if circuit type and achievement is same.

      5. Luca says:

        two wrongs dont make a right – DOTD for Spa shouldnt have been Button – he drove a race without pressure once all his competition had been taken out.

        And the fans of an English speaking webiste of a UK based presenter/pundit generally favour UK drivers over others – big whoop! Thait aint news – turn on any coverage of the F1 in Uk and you’d think it was sponsored by McLaren.

        Anyway, as mentioned DOTD shoudl typically, in my view, go to the driver who excelled past expectations. in this case FM or KK makes sense.

      6. Sebee says:

        Well, I always felt things were different here. But indeed, no way to fight the fact that James is able to promote the site better in UK than worldwide. Thus more UK readers vs other English speaking countries or fans. I guess with over 60% of WDCs won by Germans in this millennium, it doesn’t go down too well in UK.

      7. Andrew J says:

        Button outclassed his teammate all weekend at Spa in the same machinery. It was against form given his qualifying history and (the first couple of races aside) most of the season. These factors helped to make him DOTD there.

        This applies less to Vettel at Suzuka, where there was less of a difference in performance between him and his teammate. The Red Bull has been said by everyone to be the car to beat this weekend.

        Pole to win is not the only parameter to consider in selecting a driver of the day.

      8. Erik says:

        Because you for once has more raw pace then your teammate doesn’t make you good.

        The truth is if Button would not be brit he would not even be in F1 now. He is just too slow.

        Yes, he is nice, verbal, intelligent, gives a good impression etc.

        No stellar driver is like that. They are specialised in what they do and the mindset they have and they do it 100%.

        Senna, Prost, Schummy(career 1), Kimi, Mika,
        Lewis etc.

        If you’re looking for marriage material go for Jenson. If you run a F1 team go for someone who can intuitively understand how you get the best out of a car that for that weekend happens to have a failed setup, wrong components, that does not need the perfect balance. Those are the drivers that will win championships when they don’t happen to have the best car all the season.

      9. brny666 says:

        Yeah but given how people question Sebs race craft should not the Spa DOTD have gone to him, finishing second wile starting outside top 10? Oh sorry he’s not British so I guess not. Anyway I don’t want to offend anyone and should probably not stop reading comments or learn German as I’m sure the negative comments he gets in UK get balanced out by all the praise he gets in Germany. Hopefully.

      10. Andrew J says:

        Erik,

        The statement wasn’t about how good Button is or isn’t, it was about the merit of being awarded DOTD. In Spa, Button deserved it.

      11. Erik says:

        Andrew:
        Ok, I don’t have anything against Jenson getting the DOTD at SPA.

        Setting up the car is part of the job.

    3. Wayne says:

      No love for Shumi driving 23rd to 11th?

      1. Cedgy says:

        Thought the same. I guess if he would have made it passed Daniel Ricciardo and into the points he would have been considered for the DOTD. No points no love!

      2. Matthew says:

        Shumi had an excellent drive, but effectively gained only four positions after the first lap. Webber, whose involvement in the collision was not his fault, effectively gained thirteen places after the first lap. Shumacher had a great race, but it paled in comparison to Webber’s.

      3. Momo says:

        Good point.

    4. Matthew says:

      There just isn’t much to get excited about when watching someone in a car that’s miles faster than everyone else’s, driving effortlessly away at the front. It’s boring.

      Also, what’s so hard about it?

      10s lead minimum, so no pressure. Nothing in the way. Easier to manage tyres. Car basically on rails.

      Massa probably would’ve won that race if in the Red Bull (not by 20 seconds), true?

      The cars were relatively even in Germany (perhaps the Red Bull was a touch faster in fact) and what happened? That’s Vettel when he hasn’t got a massive advantage.

      The only race he’s ever won when he didn’t have the fastest car was Monza for TR. Fernando has won 3 this year alone.

      I just don’t believe Vettel is the best and every time he wins its because the car was faster. I can’t get past it! He has had plenty of opportunity this year too – the car wasn’t great at the start of the year, or before Singapore but Seb doesn’t grind victories out – he’s awesome at the front for sure – but I’d vote someone else for dotd, even yesterday!

      1. Matthew says:

        Bit flippant actually, of course it’s hard and requires immense skill… I just want Alonso to win!

  2. Simmo says:

    Kobayashi, the home guy, 1st podium! Not Massa, because although he did finish on the podium it is 2 years overdue sadly…

    1. Sebee says:

      Ever think that LdM’s comments about some more aggression from Alonso’s team mate finally means Massa was given proper support and perhaps Ferrari finally let his ECU deliver 100% engine power instead of the usual 95% Massa has been getting to make Alonso feel invincible? :-) I love conspiracy theories.

      1. Wayne says:

        I’m not even sure Massa drove all that well at all. He luckily avoided the first corner madness (being lucky isn’t an insult but it is mostly luck if you don’t get caught in the scramble and two contenders are taken out) – from that point on he cruized around to second place, never near enough to Vettel to damage his tyres etc.

        For me, for Massa to be even on this list is a pity vote. He drove well – noting more and nothing less. Had anyone else cruized round to a distant second place they would not have even made the list.

      2. Sebee says:

        But I do find it interesting that he’s getting top 10s lately. Results worthy of a conspiracy theory, as I said.

      3. Erik W says:

        That Massa is top 10 regularly has to do with that the Ferrari is well balanced(but not fastest) and easy to drive now compared to early season.

        Massa cannot drive if the car is bad. The worse the car the more ahead Alonso will be.

        Massa has cost M$ for the lost WCC money the last seasons. The only thing that keeps him in his seast is Alonsos wish. Massa never recovered from his accident. Brain damage is complex and it is often impossible to get back the old level of “functionality”.

      4. quest says:

        He was only fourth after the start. He jumped Kobayashi and Button by being faster than them and going longer during the first stint.

        I am bored of seeing him in the Ferrari and feel it’s time for someone else to have a go, but he deserves credit for this weekend.

      5. colin grayson says:

        having missed Q3 mass had a new set of options to start on and 2 new sets of primes to follow

        got through the carnage at the start without grosjeaning anyone [10 out of 10 ], then his new options allowed him to run a longer first stint and make the overtakes in the pits ; new primes kept him in front

        looks like he is starting to get some of alonso’s luck

      6. Steve Zodiac says:

        I couldn’t help wondering why Massa’s car suddenly seemed so competitive when usually he is nowhere. I don’t normally subscribe to conspiracy stuff but Ferrari always come over as a bit devious. It’s funny how Eddie Irvine started winning when Schuey was out.

      7. Sebee says:

        It can’t all be a coincidence. Seriously.

      8. abashrawi says:

        Here is something interesting: When Alonso is out, Massa seems to perform. In 2009 when Massa was out, Raikonen was driving in a way the simulators thought impossible. Same with BAR when MSC had his low profile days.

        It seems there is something fishy with Ferrari preventing their #2s from performing :p

      9. Erik W says:

        Didn’t Ferrari have a very small setup window?
        Quick in the window slow out of it.

        They developed the car to one driver and the other could not use his skills to 100% since the car was impossible to setup for the #2.
        Sometimes good, sometimes ok, sometimes bad bat through a season no chance.

        Massa had Schumacher at the team who hated Kimi too and did everything to favor Massa.
        He gave Ferrari 5 titles so of course they listened.

        Early this season he was out saying Massa was as good or almost as Alonso and just had some bad luck early on. 25 races of bad luck is no coincidence.

        When Alonso entered everything was developed to his liking. Nothing wrong with that but that, that is how they do business. The #2 wont stand a chance though.

  3. carl craven says:

    Top 3 finishers deserve this one for different reasons. Vettel for his superlative drive (often 1 sec per lap faster than everyone else in sector 2 alone, how did he manage that?), Massa for finally getting his act together and Kamui for a brave drive and a finally deserved podium.

    1. Cliff says:

      Agree with your comments and went with Massa.

    2. DC says:

      +1. I went for Koba simply for goosebumps I got listening to all that crowd shouting his name.

    3. Rishi says:

      Also agree that it could have gone to any of those guys. Also pleased to see Hulkenberg & Ricciardo among the nominees; not sure whether Maldonado should be there – yes he kept his nose clean and I was happy for him but does that automatically make it one of the best drives of the day? I don’t think so. Raikkonen I presume is there because his result underlines his sheer points finishing consistency over the season.

      For me, heart said Massa but head said Kobayashi. Getting your first podium in F1 is always an important achievement and Kamui did well to fend off pressure from Button in the closing stages, so I went for him. Good to see it happen on home soil too of course.

  4. carl craven says:

    Just wondering how Kimi is on the list over Button. Kimi took out Alonso, though no fault of his own. Started higher than Button, finished lower.

    Button started lower finished higher and would have had a better race if not for a gear box change and a gearbox problem during the race. And despite not taking Kamui, put in a good drive and made good use of strategy to make good gains. Solid and impressive.

    1. Terry James says:

      If Kimi gets on the list, then Lewis should too, starting further back than him and beating him with a great overtake.

      VERY strange inclusion….

    2. mayberth says:

      bcoz both mclaren duo hv much better car than kimi’s turtle E20 with damaged front wing?? Had lotus nvr did a 4 sec pit stop, hamilton would not pass kimi on 2nd pits!!

      Kimi demonstrated himself as the most skillest driver in terms of race craft, and also his ability to extract maximum from the car during races allow him to stay on 6th despite force india and williams were much faster than E20.

      Need to start work on avoid mistake in qualifying though….

      1. ferrox glideh says:

        Hamilton would not have tried to pass Grosjean where he passed Kimi, because he trusts Kimi to be professional. Kimi knows how to stay out of trouble (watch Alonso instigate contact inadvertantly on corner one), as he has proven by being the only driver to complete every lap this season. Even though he says he “doesn’t care” about other drivers (see the after- qualifying interview), he consistantly displays great sportsmanship. His carefulness shows just how much he does care. He got my vote for driver of the day.

    3. Martin says:

      Another thing in Button’s favour is that he is one of the few drivers where you could make a clear comparison with his team mate. Hamilton had an effectively straightforward race – with set up complaints – and finished well behind.

      We don’t know by how much Vettel would have beaten Webber – it might all have been done on Saturday and the start.

      With Massa the thing is that he is never faster than Alonso in a race. In some, such as Bahrain and Hungary he is close. In other such as Monza he is well behind. In this race I remember Massa being a 10 then 9 seconds behind earlier in the second stint and then gap blowing out to 16 seconds pretty quickly and Kobayashi coming back at him. I suspect that there was another 10 seconds at least in that race time to be shaved off – so about 0.2 per lap.

      Kamui wasn’t racing Sergio for that long, but I can’t see how Perez could have maintained track position over Button.

      At one level we have three top drivers in Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton. Alonso was the majority contributor to his own demise and Hamilton didn’t have a great race. That leaves Vettel to manage a superior car. So I chose patriotism and nominated Daniel for no other valid reason.

    4. Peter says:

      Button has a McLaren under him, Kimi has a Lotus.

    5. Doug says:

      Couldn’t agree more Carl…Button would have got my vote!

    6. Roland says:

      Carl, sorry, kimi didn’t ‘take out’ alonso, alonso squeezed him off the track when he was perfectly entitled to be there as his right front wheel was level with alonso’s left sidepod/ acer duct. then kimi loses control, picks it up but unfortunately gives fernando a tap. the point is, alonso was the architect of his own demise.

      regarding kimi’s inclusion – he would have been fifth had lotus not botched his second pit stop as hamilton gained at least a second on him during his stop. had kimi finished 5th, which he should have done, there would be no argument about this.

    7. Sebee says:

      Good to see some.gearbox problems. Those things looked buletproof. Now suddenly they are a factor.in.finishing.

      DARN YOU ANDROID KEYBOARD AND . NEXT TO SPACE!! Can’t get used to it.

  5. Blade Runner says:

    So nice to see Felipe finally get back on the podium and with some style and pace too.

    As Fernando said the other week, when he hears the names of other drivers linked to the other Ferrari seat next year, they are little in comparison to what Felipe has achieved in the past and seems to be re-producing at the very last moment.

  6. Geenimetsuri says:

    Massa all the way.

    Kobayashi’s performance was really good as well.

  7. Andrew M says:

    Vettel was dominant but he clearly had a massive car advantage, I can’t give driver of the day to someone who was in cruise control.

    Massa did very well and I’m happy for him, but I can’t help but think part of his result today was as a result of him failing in qualifying, as it allowed him to start 10th on fresh tyres and have the pace and longivity in his first stint to jump Kobayashi and Button (and possibly a few others too). It’s a counter intuitive, success-punishing system and I hope they sort it out soon.

    So I’ll give it to Kobayashi, maybe a little sentimental but to deliver a great result like that in your home grand prix in a straight fight under pressure and wind up on the podium is a superb drive.

    1. Wilma the Great says:

      About Massa: Well if choosing tyres in 11th is such a huge advantage, anyone has rhe freedom not to compete for Q3. I won’t argue with you about Kobayashi.

      Why plead for Button at Spa while telling ‘I can’t give driver of the day to someone who was in cruise control’ when Vettel wins. Seems a little inconsistent to me.

      1. Andrew M says:

        Possibly a little inconsistent, I suppose I was swayed by the fact that Button rarely has dominant wins like that whereas Vettel pulls them off as a matter of routine. Maybe that shouldn’t be a factor.

  8. Andrew M says:

    Not sure why Kimi is in the poll ahead of both McLaren drivers, they both started behind him and finished ahead.

  9. Robert Gunning says:

    Great drives from both Kobayashi and MAssa, when they are both driving for their careers. But, I know I have mentioned this on another thread, did Massa jump the start? His car is clearly creeping when the red lights are still on. Check it out at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01n8kbs/Formula_1_2012_The_Japanese_Grand_Prix_Highlights/ at approximately 1:38:30 and see what everyone else thinks.

    1. David Ryan says:

      Certainly looks like a bit of creeping going on. Having said that, whether a car jumps the start or not is determined by sensors on the car and the grid (unless it’s really obvious a la Alonso a few years back in China)so if the system didn’t flag it up it’s a legitimate start. Fair point though – I wondered when I first saw it.

    2. Shah Alam says:

      yes your right,

      strange Sauber did not take this to the officials or maybe they are to busy celebrating 3rd place.

      1. MISTER says:

        If his wheels did not pass a certain point before the red lights go out…it’s not jump start.
        If he wants, Massa can stop 1 metre before his blocks and then moving slowly when the red lights are on. As long as his wheels do not go passed that horizontal line on the blocks..everything should be fine.

      2. thejudge13 says:

        Good spot Mr.Gunning – I thought I saw that on the replays they showed on the highlights programme yesterday.

        @Mister. Not sure about the legality of that, plus even a slow roll is an advantage – try it at some traffic lights when next to a souped up boy racer.

        If it is legal and was intentional – a clever ploy from Massa

  10. CanadaGP says:

    Kobayashi for me. The pressure on him was greater than any driver for this race yet he kept it tidy. Vettel had a massive car advantage and Massa benefited from better tyres. I’m still not convinced that Perez is better than Kamui. I think Massa and Koba will keep their seats for 2013. Ferrari tends to be conservative about driver selections. Hopefully, Sauber gets some Japanese corporate sponsorship with this result.

  11. Stormbreak says:

    Felipe. He went from 10th to 2nd and was only beaten by a dominant Vettel. Kamui and Vettel were very impressive too but Felipe really outperformed expectations.

  12. carpking2007 says:

    Kamui Kobayashi was my driver of the day great drive well done

  13. Andrew says:

    Vettel supreme all weekend, he makes it look so easy. Of course he won’t get DOTD because this is a popularity contest and he isn’t very popular in these parts.

    Kobayashi and Massa both excelled themselves, very good drives.

    1. Bart says:

      “Of course he won’t get DOTD because this is a popularity contest and he isn’t very popular in these parts.”

      +1 Couldn’t have put it better.

    2. Gary says:

      I didn’t vote for Seb and it’s not a popularity contest with me. He was gracious enough on the slowing down lap to make particular note of how good the car was and in his post race comments he again noted: “…the balance was there – and that’s what made the difference today.”

      No, what we had was a great driver in a car that was the class of the field by a decent margin. In the light of the efforts of Felipe and Kamui, Seb’s drive was not DOTD material.

    3. James Encore says:

      @Andrew & @Bart. It is called Driver of the **DAY**.

      Vettel was brilliant in qualifying, got a good start and then toured round without destroying his tyres, without throwing the car off the track and without anything breaking. This makes him the winner. No compliants from people who don’t like about that, even questions about car legality seem to have gone to sleep. He won, beyond question. But what did he do on Sunday ?

      That’s the issue for Seb and DotD; if he wins it’s because he had pole and led into the first corner. (In singapore he was second into turn 1 and the car in front retired). Yesterday was his 24th win, 18 of 24 have come from pole, 4 from second, 2 from third and he has never won from lower than third. Of course he’s had 34 poles, and so he’s only converted about half into wins. That leads people tosay “he can’t overtake” – actually this season he’s shown he can (Belgium I think) but he rarely needs to.

      As for popularity contests I don’t much like Alonso, but I’ve voted for him twice, come to that I active dislike Ferrari, and I’ve voted for Massa twice as well. We can like who we like all the better if we admit those we don’t like have a good race now and then. Even if half the people here swore they’d never vote for vettel an outstanding drive would still get him DotD

      1. James Allen says:

        If only everyone was as fair minded !

      2. Steve says:

        The problem, or at least the perceived problem, is other drivers who win from pole have actually won the vote for DotD on this site.

        So while I appreciate it may not be a popularity contest with you personally, I firmly believe it is with a large percentage of the people voting.

      3. Andrew says:

        The Belgian GP is a perfect example of this.

        Button cruises to victory in the fastest car from pole position.

        Vettel started in eleventh and made numerous impressive overtakes (despite his cars poor straight-line speed). He finally managed to climb up to second place excellent race pace whilst managing his tyres well enough to need just one pitstop.

        Guess who won the DOTD poll?

      4. F1fan4life says:

        If i remember correctly Alonso won in Malaysia with a dog of a car that was quite realistically inferior to many cars including the Sauber, yet Perez won dotd despite going off track when he should have won the race. The difference is Alonso won with a slower car and didn’t gettgetter vote… Vettel won with the fastest car… so the unjust voting isn’t solely against Vettel. Why do we need to pity Vettel anyway? Give Alonso or Schumacher a red bull and he’d gladly not win dotd all year.

      5. Steve says:

        It’s not a matter of “pitying” anyone, it’s just a reflection of how hypocritical people are when justifying voting for their pet drivers vs not voting for others.

    4. James Encore says:

      Just to backup the stats above.
      Vettel has got 75% of his wins from Pole.
      More than any other driver with more than 10 wins.
      Massa, and Mario Andretti got 73% of their wins from pole, Senna 71% James Hunt 70%, Ascari 69% Jim Clark 60%, Lewis Hamilton and Nigel Mansell 55%, Fangio 54% and the other 21 ten-times-winners all 50% or under. Nelson Piquet got 22 wins, 23 poles, but only 4 wins from pole.

      That’s not to say Senna, Hunt, Andretti, Ascari, and Clark (all champions and on people’s lists of greats) had no race-craft, or couldn’t overtake. Or that Schumacher, Prost or Jackie Stewart (who all had more wins the poles) were lousy over a single lap. Just that the last 3 would have been more likely to earn DotD

  14. harrharr says:

    Romain Crashjean. Isn’t it obvious

    1. Cedgy says:

      Hitman of the day!

      1. joe123 says:

        If it was driver of the weekend, you could argue Romain qualified brilliantly ahead of his much experienced team mate (is that 9:6 now?)

        You could then argue if Webber hadn’t turned in on him and ruined his race – he may have got the first win for Lotus. (wry grin).

      2. Cedricbaum says:

        Yes and if everyone with the exceptions of the HRT’s would have been taken out by Grojean’s incident then Pedro De la Rosa might have won the race!

  15. Tim says:

    DOTD: Felipe Massa and COTF (Class of the Field).
    Honorable mention to Kamui Kobayashi.

    Tim

  16. kp says:

    Hamilton!

    He managed to finish, didn’t crash into anyone, wasn’t too bad tempered at the end and ….. best of all……. got upset with Perez because the rookie was driving so darn well!

    Well done Lewis.

    1. rossco says:

      Yeah, Perez drove so well, managed to lose it on the approach to the hairpin and almost take out Hamilton. Well done on that colossal driver error.

      1. Leckie says:

        Haha nice one kp :)

      2. ACO says:

        I think that Hamilton deliverately went inside the hairpin and brake earlier, maybe due Kimi in front of him.
        However stating it as a “colossal driver error” is harsh in my opinion, Perez avoid to crash Hamilton and also provide a superb overtake some laps before. It’s of course a rookie error but at least he was trying to race.
        I think he is a nice to see pilot on the grid, and not those crasher that ruins our fun.

    2. quest says:

      You spoke too soon. Hamilton’s weekend is not over until he safely logs out of his twitter account.

      I feel Hamilton should not be let off the track and Grosjean should not be let onto it. Hamilton can’t help making a fool of himself as soon as he get out of his car and Grosjean as soon as he gets into it.

      1. Robb says:

        HaHa. I’m a Lewis fan, but I’ve got to admit there’s some truth to this.

  17. Andy says:

    It could be any of the top three. It’s Massa for me, he looked quick all weekend.
    Kobayashi really got third because of McLarens poor strategy with Buttons first stop. Considering their resource, they should do better.

  18. Simon Lord says:

    Great drives from a number of people on a great driver’s circuit. Strange how the two drivers under pressure of losing their seats suddenly produced great performances, but good to see them on the podium.

    There’s been a lot of comment about Vettel having now scored the same number of poles as Clark and Senna, and now a comment about him having the same number of wins as Fangio. While it’s impossible to compare drivers from different eras, and taking nothing away from the Vettel and Newey combination, it might be instructive to look at percentages rather than raw numbers – there are many more championship rounds than there used to be. Highest percentage of wins per races started? Highest percentage of pole positions? Highest percentage of laps led? Highest percentage of possible points scored in a season? I’m sure there must be an anorak’s website somewhere that does this.

    On the subject of stats on websites, James, I understand that race days are very busy for you but do you think it would be possible to arrange for the championship tables on your excellent website to be updated rather sooner after each race? It seems to take about 24 hours, which means that to look at the impact of the results your viewers have to go to other sites. Many thanks.

    1. Alex J W says:

      Those stats are available, vettel doen’t top those, but is very close in every area, if he can keep up this strike rate for 10 years (and he hopefully has 15+ years to do this) he will compare well to all the greats – MS AS AP JC JMF etc. The only record he is unlikely to go near is Brabham, but with Vettel absolute focus, saving his pennies living in Switzerland, and his great marketability, he should have sufficient drive, and funds, to start his own team by 2022….

    2. Martin says:

      The number of championship rounds isn’t particularly important. If you look at wins per start, fastst laps per start and poles per start, Fangio beats everyone else easily.

      In Fangio’s time he was able to arrange to be in the best car for each season due to his reputation and teams running up to four cars. The development cycles were much longer, with cars generally running with only detail changes for at least two season.

      Pole position has only really mattered in terms of race results in the last two decades. Before then it mattered to the ego of some drivers. In general it was a reflection of who had the most engine power. With that you could carry more downforce and with new tyres cover up for poor handling balance.

      If you took Senna, who is probably fourth on the list of races per pole position, he spent much of his career in the car with the most powerful engine in qualifying, had a strong desire to show he was the fastest combined with a lot a talent (and he weighed a fair bit less than some of the quick guys like Mansell and Berger when there was no weight equivalence). My point? You can fight stats with other facts.

      I understand many/most journalists use Forix for stats during race weekends.

      Cheers,

      Martin

      1. KRB says:

        Even jumped between cars mid-season, did Fangio. When Mercedes debuted mid-season, he jumped to them from Maserati, and went on to clean up even more.

    3. KRB says:

      Google Stats F1.

      1. Simon Lord says:

        Thanks everyone for intellient comment, thought-provoking opinion and informed debate – that’s why this website is daily reading for me. Like sitting in the pub with some good mates (while trying to ignore the guys wearing football shirts being loud and ignorant in the saloon!)

  19. Ral says:

    Vettel. He was just supreme today.

    Of course Kobayashi and Massa did outstanding jobs as well and are both probably more popular choices. Which is fine, but I think that, much to the chagrin of his team, we had a a glimpse of how much of an advantage Vettel had over the rest of the field. :)

    1. Finger says:

      Fantastic job… mr. Adrian Newey

      1. quest says:

        Which car is he driving?

      2. Brad says:

        Better still, his teammate Webber (yes, I understand he almost got taken out) cannot keep up with him….

        ok, so now the preferential treatment is probably gonna come in from some anti-Vettel fans…

  20. T Nelan Esq says:

    Credit where credit is due, Kamui soaked up all the pressure McLaren threw at him, and still kept his nerve to got the job done. Who else in the field soaked up so much pressure today? Undoubtedly he gained more experience today than he did in the last 14 races put together. He’s proven it…the boy’s got what it takes! Hopefully he’ll get the springboard effect from this result.

    1. TheLollipopMan says:

      Agreed, but it wasn’t just pressure from Button he soaked up. Kobayashi was hounded by the media and the fans the entire week, let alone the race weekend itself. And not just the local media, but the overseas press as well, asking the obligatory “Kamui, how does it feel to be driving your home grand prix” ad nauseam.

      Kobayashi got my vote because the bloke’s had hardly any time to himself all week, yet he kept both the ego and nerves at bay, and kept a cool head to produce a faultless drive in an under-competitive car, despite the pressure of the 110,000 people screaming his name trackside, and the weight of the entire nation and its frenetic media on his shoulders.

      So many drivers crumble under the pressure of their home race. Kobayashi took it on the chin and got on with the job. He was the meat in a world champion sandwich the entire race (don’t forget Massa has had wins and poles, and very nearly won a championship).

      Talk about his seat at Sauber being under threat is pure conjecture. I have not heard anyone at Sauber say one bad word about him, or complain that he’s not bringing enough money (or points) to the team. One can only assume it’s just more pit lane (or press room) speculation.

      He’s without doubt the best F1 driver Japan has produced, and deserves a Sauber contract renewal, or even a bump-up to a stronger team.

      1. Peter C says:

        “How does it feel?” The lazy journalists question, which we had, as you say ad nauseam all through the London Olympics,viz.”How does it feel,Mo,to have won both the 5000 & 10000 metres, when your wife is pregnant with twins?

        But he smiled at these ****ing idiots, & gave answers.

        The F1 drivers must loathe being in ‘the pen’ after the race, being asked the same questions over again by the worlds journos, till they must be ready to scream.

        At least FA can do most of the languages!

  21. Serrated_Edge says:

    Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Maldonado, Ricciardo on the list yet Button does not get mentioned even though he started 8th and finished 4th and would surley have finished in 3rd place if the race had lasted another couple of laps?

    1. Doug says:

      Yep…I think he would have been 2nd were it not for 2 McLaren errors…great driving…bad teamwork. :-(

  22. Bullish says:

    Kobayashi for his fine performance on home soil.

    Well done to Ricciardo for his excellent driving to fend off a faster Micheal Schumacher. It was very exciting to watch. He position the car with precision to protect his position.

  23. Rich C says:

    Grosjean.

    He had the greatest impact on the results!

  24. ChrisJ says:

    Lots of good drives today all deserving of DotD but my heart ruled my head and I went for Kamui Kobyashi. How many drivers have won their first ever podium in their home country, and you could see how much it meant to the spectators. So yes Mr Kobyashi gets my vote.

  25. Doohan says:

    I voted for Daniel, his positioning against Michael in the closing stages was epic, a solid point for the Perth boy and he got some good air time there as well.

    Massa drove a strong race, another good Ferrari strategy to utilize the pit stops and clean air. Lucky we only have to wait another weekend to see Fernando’s response.

  26. Darren says:

    Kobyashi’s first podium withstanding massive pressure from behind. Well done.

  27. Marcelo Leal says:

    You did not add Hamilton to the list? Crazy…
    He was with a bad car at hands, could avoid the “avoid the carnage” at the first corner (as you said), and could go from 9th to 5th.
    He defended the position against Perez with a much better car on the race, Hulk and Kimi pretty fast… he managed the tyres and scored strong points for the championship…
    I was wondering if he would do the same as Barcelona, where he started from the last slot on the grid, and managed to finish in front of his team mate.
    Maybe was not the best performance of the day, but for sure should be considered…

  28. pargo says:

    Massa for me, but Kobayashi made the podium presentation special.

    I was really disappointed to see Webber punted off like that (thanks again Grosjean – maybe start from pit lane next 5 races), but the final top 3 result was great.

  29. Chris Chong says:

    It has to be Kobayashi. Some could argue that Perez’ podiums so far had been due to gambles on strategies – which paid off. Kamui’s 3rd place was won on sheer pace (being on similar strategies with the other front-runners), and he responded well to the threat of a fast-closing Button by maintaining the 1.7-sec gap for about 4 laps before his tires started to go.

    His passing of Ricciardo may have come a little late, but it was also because Ricciardo covered the corners really well. Kamui waited for the right moment and made it stick.

  30. Both Kobayashi and Ricciardo were withstood massive pressure and delivered.

    I vote went to Kamui who also had the pressure to perform to keep his F1 career alive.

  31. Trevor Y says:

    Heart says Kobayashi but head says Vettel… I’m not the biggest Vettel fan but he was supreme.

    Don’t want to turn this into another Hamilton thread but did anyone see his tweets this morning (Japan time)?

    First one “Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, thats a shame. After 3 years as teammates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn’t”

    Second one “Funny thing is, we are STILL teammates! All good tho, I plan on giving this team & fans all I got til I cross the finish line in brazil!!!”

    Third one “My bad, just found out Jenson never followed me. Don’t blame him! Need to be on Twitter more!”

    Ok, so he’s owned up to his mistake but what is going on in his head? Even if Jenson had ‘unfollowed’ him what does it matter? Unfortunately I think Hamilton has hit a mental block (…again!) and has made himself look like a petulant brat… Again!

    1. hal says:

      I follow both I am pretty certain Hamilton was on Jenson`s list.

      I also heard before the Hamilton tweet that Jeson no longer followed him.

      Of course I could have been wrong…

      1. Doug says:

        You are…Jenson was interviewed on this and stated “I never followed Lewis on Twitter”.

      2. KRB says:

        Why would JB torture himself and follow LH on Twitter? Follows him more than enough on track. :-D

    2. KOJotac says:

      Just some context before this inevitably starts one of those Hamilton ‘love/hate’ threads. This story has its origins in the F1 journalistic paddock, namely Jon Noble who i believe writes for autosport. A few hours after Hamilton’s Merc move was announced on 28 Sept, he tweeted (wrongly) that:

      “Jon Noble ‏@NobleF1: More fall out from driver announcements… Jenson Button has stopped following Lewis Hamilton on Twitter…and added Sergio Perez instead”

      This was a very sensational but inaccurate rumor which was retweeted at least 380 times by some folks, including ‘reputable’ journos such as BBC’s Andrew Benson who stated:

      “Andrew Benson ‏@andrewbensonf1: The estimable @NobleF1 has pointed out that @JensonButton has stopped following @LewisHamilton and starting following @SChecoPerez!”

      This was re-tweeted a further 231 times. Now it transpires that Hamilton did not have his phone (or it had issues) until this Sat/Sun. No doubt he would have only seen these tweets for the first time a day or so ago as some of his followers had responded/retweeted etc. I am not directly commenting on his “response” which is making headlines toady (ironically the innocent Andrew Benson is making a big deal of it too), I just want to give you context. Also in JB defence, he responded to this on the same day (28th Sept), by tweeting Jon Noble :

      “Jenson Button ‏@JensonButton: @NobleF1 Never followed him… Makes a story though!!”

      Just giving you context of a ‘story’ that had its initial origins in medialand.

    3. Jeff says:

      There’s a reason why ‘Twitter’ starts with ‘Twit’

  32. Bhodha G says:

    Kobayashi for holding his own getting a podium. How about that irritating finger from Finger-pole? Redbull have reverted back to using advanced alien technology again.

    1. Tim says:

      “Redbull have reverted back to using advanced alien technology again.” LOL. I could’ve sworn I saw a flying saucer parked next to the RedBull Hospitality Suite and several little green men with antennae protruding from the top of their heads, furtively creeping towards the RedBull garage with wings and things in their arms.
      I agree with you, they seem to have recently found unearthly pace. I hope they don’t run away with the Championships.

      Tim

  33. Kay says:

    Driver of the Day: Massa, bloody awesome comeback!!
    Idiot of the Day: The usual suspect – Grossjean.

  34. JohnnyBenerba says:

    Good for Massa to earn the podium but best drive goes to Kamui. When you put a Sauber on the podium it’s hard to argue they didn’t work their butts off to get there.

  35. Sam says:

    Hey James,

    Why isn’t Webber on the list? I think to come back and secure some points after an unfortunate incident not of his fault was a gritty drive.

    For me it was hard to split Massa and Kobayashi for DOTD – Pretty special for Kobayashi to keep to together in front of his home crowd and the pressure from Jenson for his first podium was enough to push him over the line.

    Riccardo gets a close third – great drive and kept Schumacher at bay at the end.

    On another note: Lewis needs to get someone to cast their eyes over his tweets – Hot water again:

    “Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, thats a shame. After 3 years as teammates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn’t.”

    “Funny thing is, we are STILL teammates! All good tho, I plan on giving this team & fans all I got til I cross the finish line in brazil!!!”

    “My bad, just found out Jenson never followed me. Don’t blame him! Need to be on Twitter more!”

    After Perez’s slip up to the media how can someone in Hamilton’s position get away with this?!

    Oh well.. I hope for Lewis’s sake he isn’t still in the running for the crown in Brazil with Jenson sitting in front of him on the grid holding onto the points he needs … doubt JB would be too efficient in moving over for him.

    Lewis has gotta use his head better sometimes.

  36. Craig in Manila says:

    Difficult one.
    I’ll go with Webber : 22nd (i think) at end of first lap then into the points by the finish.

    1. Ayron says:

      +1 – also, the safety car came in so quickly that he was still stranded most of a lap behind the field when they went racing again

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Yep, agreed.

      2. KRB says:

        The car was quick, but still a good recovery from being 20 sec’s behind the pack at the re-start.

  37. DanWilliams from Aust says:

    Went with KOB. RIC also did very well.

    A very honourable mention should go to WEB. Knocked out in the first lap by the nutcase, forced to pit, rejoins 20secs behind the field, forced to drive a 1 stop strategy, then manages to finish in 9th which was 5 secs behind 5th place!

  38. JB says:

    definitely Kobayashi! for fending off Button.

    I also like to add the great gesture from Seb to welcome Kob to the podium. I think this man is a great role model.

  39. Mike says:

    KOBAYASHI!!! BANZAI!!! /

  40. Richard says:

    In many ways Hamilton did very well nursing a badly understeering car into fifth place whilst looking after the tyres as best he could. However I was pleased to see Massa back on the podium after such a drought, and I hope he retains his seat, and that there’s more to come. It’s very difficult to quantify, but recovering fully from the bump on the head he had both physically and mentally probably takes a lot longer than is readily apparent. Good luck to him!

    1. mayberth says:

      really?? kimi must be superb by driving a car with damaged front wing and terrible rear end stability!! we both know mclaren is much better than lotus

      1. Richard says:

        While Kimi is a very good driver whose to quantify which was the worse to driver. Had Hamilton’s set up and balance been OK he would have qualified further up, and most probably would have been on the podium, but there’s nothing worse than a car that won’t turn in. Kimi’s car while damaged was still good enough to get as far as he did, otherwise he would have been much further back. That said Vettel’s Red Bull was unstoppable this weekend having made a good step forward.

  41. CJ says:

    he recovery by Webber to get into the points after the stupid Frenchman took him out was magnificent

  42. Il Leone says:

    Gotta be Seb. I accept car advantage and all, but that was a dominant performance.

  43. oak says:

    why Isnt webber on there? He drove a brilliant race, being more then 60 seconds back at the restart, to finish in the points is incredible.

  44. Peter says:

    Vettel driver of Japan 2012, Kimi driver of 2012.

  45. Tyler says:

    I think we need a new category.

    Tweet of the day!

    James, how about it?

  46. Elie says:

    Massa to come back from 11 to taken second and avoid the first lap incidents ( of which he was right in the thick of !) Im no Felipe fan and certainly Not Ferrari.. But he thoroughly deserves it. Great drive by Kobayashi and Ricciardo..

  47. Mr Squiggle says:

    I agree with Tim. Its Massa for me.

    I usually try (grudgingly) to give Vettel DOTD when he does this green-light-to-chequered-thing.

    Not today. Exactly who did Vettel outrace?

    Massa hasn’t been on the podium for years.
    KK never before.
    Hamilton had a bodgy set-up.
    Mark ‘rear-gunner’ Webber took one up the exhaust pipe again.
    Jens was off the podium
    Alonso was in the dirt

    Simple fact is Vettel wasn’t challenged,

    its Massa for me. Plus if he keeps it up, a return to form will have more impact on the championship.

  48. Simon Donald says:

    Kamui for sure!! About time he got onto the podium! Hope he has secured his Sauber drive for next year!

  49. James Encore says:

    If anyone had told me I would vote for Massa two races in a row I would have asked them to take a drugs test, but here it is, after making his way back from a first lap puncture in singapore, this time he had a great drive on Sunday to make up for a rotten Saturday.

    Honorable mention to Raikkonen for helping the championship get more exciting.

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s probably why he’s staying at Ferrari, as it very much seems now.

  50. Andrew Carter says:

    I voted Vettel but really its a three way tie between him, Massa and Kobayashi. All three drove absolutley brilliantly and Kamui’s podium is the first for Sauber that’s been scored from a good starting position and with equal strategy to the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus.

  51. Mark says:

    It was great to see Kamui grab third, and to hear the crowd chanting his name. But my driver of the day has to be Felipe Massa.

    He must be under enormous pressure, made worse by everyone from the fans to the media writing him off and openly talking about who will replace him. So with that in mind, his 2nd place finish was superb.

  52. Sebee says:

    But you would have voted for Hamilton even though by your description they are mirror image personalities. Interesting.

  53. moxlox says:

    Vettel creamed it. He was awesome all Saturday and Sunday. He seemed to be giving that Red Bull a fair bit of welly to me; setting fastest lap after fastest lap.

    Also I think this was his 3rd Suzuka win in 4 attempts. He has a great car yes, but he is a master in qualifying, and apparently a master at Suzuka.

  54. Eric Weinraub says:

    While Schumacher drove a good race, I think the so called Brain trust at Mercedes ie Haug, Costa, Willis, Brawn, and folks really need to take a hard look in the mirror. Having done a great job of completely changing the discussion from the quality of their work to the arrival of Hamilton, their car is utter rubbish. Is this a matter of times simply having passed them by or something else? Evidently, Schuey was not able to get them to produce the same kind of magic he did in ’96…. Of course, the team was minus Rory Byrne and Palo Martinelli. It is going to be a very long stint for Hamilton if Mercedes continues to produce Honda quality race cars that Button and others endured for far too many seasons.

  55. YL says:

    DOTD has to be Kobayashi, and for good reason. Races like these that light up the entire circuit do not come by every week, and yesterday’s podium for Kobayashi draws parallel with Alonso’s victory in Valencia this year.

    Of course, Massa was really on the ball all weekend and drove fantastically to claim 2nd, while Vettel’s drive is surely right at the very top of drives, pole-win-fastest lap is always treasured.

    But to have the entire nation focusing on you the entire weekend and having to live up to so much hype and expectation, to soak that up is just fantastic. Many drivers often just can’t deal with that pressure – Webber in Melbourne, Vettel in Germany, Button at Silverstone just to name a few.

    And that’s also why Kobayashi thoroughly deserves a drive next year, he drives with maturity (rarely retires due to driver error) and has great racecraft. It would be a huge loss for Sauber to let go of this one.

  56. lecho says:

    For this race it has to be Vettel. Faultless from start to finish. He earns more and more on my eyes for the way he performs in a car that is far from being superior during the season. Just like Hamilton did in 2009.

    1. KRB says:

      I really can’t believe you tried to compare the RB8 to McLaren’s 2009 car!!! That 2009 McLaren was an absolute DOG for the first half of the year. LH was regularly qualifying and finishing in the teens.

      By contrast the RB8 has, on average and over the whole of the season, still been the best car to be in.

  57. TheGreatTeflonso says:

    James as an Alonso fan, and a fan of your site, I have seen and read countless comments deriding Alonso even after this weekend, many undeserved. Frankly I think your sites popularity has also drawn the attention of the riff raff from the PlanetF1s of this world. Alonso is often criticized by many commenters with the overly used “throwing toys out of the pram” line. In the interest of fairness, and also I want to hear your opinion on the recent Hamilton rant regarding Button unfollowing him on Twitter, and the apology an hour later. I’d just like to keep these zealous fans of propriety and child like behavior in the know… And let’s face it, it is hilarious.

    1. kbdavies says:

      I think it’s quite insulting to call readers of PF1 “riff raff”, and it smacks of a distasteful snobiness and a “we are better than you” attitude that i have sometimes encountered on this site. It’s a bit like readers of the FT and various broadsheets who look down on the proles who read the “redtops”.

      Yes, different site’s do attract a certain demographic, but to label that demographic as “riff raff” hints that you somehow perceive yourself as better than them in some way – something which anyone would argue is highly subjective. These “riff raff” are still legitimate F1 fans – and no F1 fan is better than another.

      And dare i say that James has sometimes legitimised this attitude by his usual response to some posters of “there are other sites where you can air those sort of views” (i paraphrase).

      A true F1 fan would get his news from ANY site available, as they all slant the information various ways, and this give you a far more balanced view in my opinion. Of course, there would be prefeence, but F1 news is F1 news at the end of the day.

      I am a regular visitor to dedicated sites/blogs like James’s site, Keith’s, PlanetF1, and also visit other sites like Autosport, Crashnet, Gpupdate, and even YallaF1. Peace.

      1. James Allen says:

        I have said that there are other sites where people can air views which are spiteful and add nothing to the debate, those comments are not welcome here – but would never dismiss readers of such sites as riff raff or encourage that view

        Just so we are clear, JA on F1 is a broad church, anyone is welcome as long as they respect that we just like intelligent and polite debate

      2. TheGreatTeflonso says:

        Just to be clear when I said riff raff I wasn’t referring to all the readers at PF1. That would include me on occasion. I was referring to the particular group of readers that leave blatantly hateful comments. Additionally some sites slant their commentary often displaying a lack of objectivity, and James’ site certainly isn’t one of those. There is a difference and I can’t help but rate the latter as actual news. I wouldn’t compare a tabloid newspaper with a prize winning newspaper. My comment is simply that, I remember first reading James’ blog early on when I learnt not just from his posts but from his commenters posts. Now, with deserved popularity, there are still knowledgable comments, but a lot more comment noise.

  58. Geenimetsuri says:

    It would be interesting to see Driver of the Day, Driver of the Weekend and possibly even the Most Interesting Driver of GP polls and see whether the result would be different.

    It tends to be that if you dominate Q and then follow through with dominating the race it’s not perceived as glorious in DotD-poll as rise from, say, 18th to 6th on Sunday (numbers just examples).

  59. Ian C. says:

    Maybe this has already been mentioned. Isn’t the picture of Massa actually Alonso?

  60. Chromatic says:

    Riccardo on this occassion. Just for holding his own with everyone and anyone who wanted to come by. He made them all work their rights of passage.

  61. Glenn says:

    I voted for Kamui. All things considered, I thought he drove an excellent race.
    I was also impressed with Felipe and Webber. Vettel won beautifully from pole but this was to be expected. I fully expect him to win the WDC now. He is the best (current) driver in the best (current) car in the best team. I fully expect he will get zero respect from certain contributors to this forum who wouldn’t know a champion if he bit them on the leg.

    I’m a little surprised Lewis wasn’t in the poll. He did after all start and finish the race. He drove around a car that was obviously rubbish (by virtue of the fact that he was neither on pole nor won the race). Surely this gives him a nomination by default.

  62. Beka says:

    Massa and Kamui for me.
    Kobayashi’s podium was more straightforward than Peres’s podiums. The later usually fucks up the qualy, has a choice of tyres at the start and uses an alternative approach to strategy which works sometimes in combination with the Sauber’s chassis characteristics. Kamui fought in front all race long and did not rely on tyre conservation capabilities of his car. I dont remember a similar race from Perez.

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