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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Nov 2012   |  12:10 am GMT  |  473 comments

This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina was the most exciting in its short history and arguably one of the most thrilling of the season. Kimi Raikkonen won his first grand prix since returning to the sport this year, Fernando Alonso fought bravely to secure second in an underperforming Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel managed a podium having started from the pit lane. Who was your Driver of the Day?

Kimi Raikkonen

Arrived in Abu Dhabi as one of four drivers with a mathematical chance of winning the drivers’ title after a consistent season which had seen him score points in 16 of the 17 races. Showed strong pace in Friday practice and hooked up a nice lap in qualifying for the fifth fastest time. Lined up fourth after Sebastian Vettel’s exclusion and made a blistering start, taking advantage of a slow starting Mark Webber to run second early on. Struggled to hold onto leader Lewis Hamilton, but maintained a good gap to those behind. Took the lead when Hamilton retired and controlled the race impressively from the front. Took his first victory since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, the first for Lotus in their current guise and the 19th of his career.

Fernando Alonso

Failed to match the pace of the Red Bulls, McLarens and Lotuses in Friday practice as his Ferrari struggled for traction at Yas Marina. Delivered near identical laps in the three segments of qualifying to end up seventh fastest. Promoted to sixth as a result of Vettel’s demotion and made a good start, boldly passing Webber around the outside at Turn Nine. Showed better race pace than in qualifying and passed Pastor Maldonado for third. That became second when Hamilton retired and though he began catching Raikkonen in the closing stages, reducing a six second gap to under a second, he ran out of laps and settled for second. Described it as the perfect result and reduced Vettel’s lead in the championship to 10 points with 50 remaining in the last two races.

Sebastian Vettel

Was the form man coming to Abu Dhabi having won the last four races to seize the championship lead. Looked strong in Friday practice, topping the times in the second session. Spent nearly all of final practice in the garage as his Red Bull team tried to solve a brake problem. Got out in time to get some running and then delivered an impressive lap to salvage third on the grid. Stopped out on track after qualifying under instruction from his team. Demoted to back of the grid after the stewards found that he didn’t have the required amount of fuel (one litre) left in the tank for testing. Chose to start from the pit lane so his team could change parts on the car. Cut his way through the field, but had that work underdone as he first clipped Bruno Senna to break part of his front wing and then almost hit Daniel Ricciardo, behind the safety car, instead striking a marker board and breaking a part on the side of the front wing. Dropped to the back of the field when he stopped for a new nose, but fought his way back to run as high as second. Pitted for a new set of boots, which dropped him to fourth, but won a long battle with Jenson Button to take third and limit the damage to his championship lead.


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1

James

Why no option to vote for Hamilton? Do you not include votes for drivers that don't finish?

2

I'm puzzled too. Why not Hamilton?

3

I love that the very first post here is someone asking why Hamilton isn't eligible. Actually I think the person who made that post was joking... at least I really hope so. As for DOTD the first win for Lotus since 1987 & a rampaging Vettel are difficult to split. I'm tipping my hat towards nostalgia. PS - thank you James for not pandering to imperialistic sentiment and keeping Hamilton out of this poll!

4

Hamilton was driver of the day on Saturday.

He made a good start, failed to throw the car off the track and sadly suffered a mechanical failure.

Not really a candidate for DoTD.

One might ask why not DiResta given his recovery ...

5

I don't like Hamilton but he was making his teammate look like a chump and had an easy victory in the bag until he had to retire through no fault of his own.

6

I see what you are sayig but I'd suggest that you can't really include a driver who was only in the field for less than half the race - he did not really have the chance to become driver of the day really did he?

I am a Hamilton fan but he was only there for 20 laps and he made a mistake on one of them. It's a shame, he likely would have won but the 'McLaren' factor came into play again.

Having a quick look I'd say that Hamilton has lost between 80 and 100 points this year thanks to his team. Cracking work - listening to McLaren peddaling their ideological clap-trap week in and week out about how they 'like to go racing' and how the 'exist to win' has now become quite nausiating. They sound so smug and arrogant they have become a parody of themselves.

I'll ask again (even though it got modded out of a comment yesterday for some reason) what exactly has Sam Michaels brought to McLaren this year - Williams bad fortune from last year?

Whitmarsh was in the media yesterday blowing hot air about how Perez does not understand the pressure to win at McLaren yet.... If that is the case, why is the Team Principal totally immune to this pressure? How can he continue to preside over so many missed opportunities and own goals?

7

Wayne,

Re Sam Michaels, he's the head of racetrack operations and he completely reworked the pitstops to be the fastest in the field. He has some level of overall responsibility for Jenson's set up problems during the year. If a part has a reliability issue in qualifying, his opinion would be significant in terms of replacing it or keeping the car in Parc Ferme conditions.

He isn't part of the design team, so the ups and downs of the car performance would have relatively little to do with him.

While Michaels doesn't yet seem to be the next Ross Brawn, he isn't a naughty boy either.

The reason for the component failure on Hamilton's car is not clear to me. Was it a McLaren made part or a supplier's? If the part has been modified for performance reasons to chase Red Bull then your thesis on trying to win every race, not the championship would apply in this case. But it may not be something that Whitmarsh can realistically influence in terms of culture and resources in the factory. There is a balance between making fast cars and reliable ones. McLaren made the fastest car this year, but not necessarily the best.

To replace people you need to strongly believe that the someone else is going to do a better job. Replacing Whitmarsh does not turn Paddy Lowe in Adrian Newey.

Cheers,

Martin

8

Well said, Martin. A very measured response to the constant pro-Hamilton, anti-McLaren diatribes we keep hearing from Wayne.

He must have a few cracked records in his collection.

9

Martin, thanks for this - answers my question perfectly.

10

Yes, I think Sam has added quite a bit operationally. McLaren have been capable of being their own worst enemy in the way they go racing for years. Normally they cover for it with stunning car development rate. This year that's been up and down but generally pretty strong (see Spa and Abu D qualifying)

Also bear in mind the pit stop cock ups were right at the start of the year and he turned that around pretty quickly so that by summer they were doing sub 2.5s stops and pretty consistent.

11

If his name wasn't Hamilton this conversation wouldn't even be happening. Common guys!

12

He started from pole and drove well enough but didn't do anything remarkable in the race when you look at the other three nominations. There has been criticism on this forum of Vettel being included in driver of the day for exactly the same reasons.

13

He only completed 27 laps. I know it was his car that let him down, but you can't really offer him up for driver of the day in these circumstances. He surely would have been a candidate had he finished.

14

He doesn't deserve to be there in this case.

15

IMO he didn't do anything spectacular on race day. He started from the front and just pulled away (and also made a small mistake by running wide) until he ran into car trouble.

16

You can't possibly be serious.

17
Mike from Colombia

Here here

18

I dont think Hamilton had this race in the bag as had been suggested. Kimi was keeping pace with Hamilton, and was nursing his tyres. Hamilton had a big lock up in 2nd lap, and would definitely have had to pit earlier than Kimi for medium tyres. Kimi demonstrated his pace when in the lead as he easily pulled away from the pack at the end of the first stint and the Lotus was better on its tyres. Therefore I believe Kimi would've built up enough of a gap to leap Hamilton in the first pit stop window, and then it would've been a question of Hamilton being able to catch and pass Kimi on track, which Alonso could not do, even with a much better top speed than both the Lotus and the Maclaren.

19

Remember the McLaren was blisteringly fast on hard tyres - their only weekness was on soft tyre, in which Hamilton made 3+ sec lead over Kimi, not once but twice.

The early lockup was because of cold tyres - McLaren was having difficulty warming up their tyres. Hamilton held his own till the car gave up.

Having said that, there is no reason for Hamilton to be in this poll. The available choices are very correct. I choose Vettel - I'm slightly warming up to him now - he seems to be a genuinly cool guy, unlike Button.

I'm starting to hate Kimi for his responses/attitude. I understand that some fans seems to like it - but I feel that he is taking it too far. Saying he feels 'no emotions' on podium is not true and not genuine.

20

While I agree that a race is never in the bag until you take the chequered flag, Lewis had the measure of Kimi all weekend, right up until the point where his car failed him, again.

He had pulled quite a gap before the first safety car, he then pulled another after the restart so if Kimi was so good, why couldn't he kept up? The Mac was very good on the harder tyres too as demonstrated by Lewis on the Friday.

21

This is pure fantasy - Hamilton could and was extending the gap over Raikonnen at will, and he was doing it in a measured, tyre-saving way. Raikonned drove well but he inherrited the win. Sorry but it's true.

22

How do you know?

23

Wayne,

You are a details man! OK, Let's start a call for Newey to aerodynamicify (yeah I said it!) Vettel's hair. I just hope you then don't start complaining that it flexes!

Honestly, I tried to extend an olive branch to you from the Vettel camp, but you choose to suffer alone in Hamiltonville. I hope at least that when Vettel has days like he did on Saturday you take at least a little pleasure and smile, or we'll lose you as an F1 fan.

24

Yes James, it was a good start from Kimi, which I would expect. It would be highly disappointing if he didn't move ahead of the bogged down Webber and cautious Maldonado. I imagine that anything less would have been below Kimi's own exepctations.

I fail to see however how that start is comparable to quality and quantity of work Seb did Sunday.

25

It's also relative to the cars at their disposal.

Kimi did a faultless job to win a GP in a Lotus. OK Hamilton retired from a certain win, but Kimi would still have been a contender for DOTD if he'd finished second to Hamilton with that drive.

As you will see tomorrow in the UBS Race Strategy Report, Vettel came through with a super fast "overtaking special" car and some fantastic strategy work from RBR. He did a superb job, of course, take nothing away from him. But I just think it's Kimi this time.

26

Hi Michael, not sure where you and I disagree? It was an inherited win really wasn't it? But that happens all the time in F1, that does not take anything away from Kimi who drove like a champion to take advantage.

Sebee, my excuse for nullifying Vettel's great drive from pit to podium is....err.... I didn't like his hair on the day. It's important to get the hair right and he didn't.

27

Actually, wait a minute! Isn't Lewis also the luckiest man in Formula one? Especially in 2008, in Brazil when he lucked into the WDC thanks to a slow Prius that somehow made it into the track?

29

That's right Wayne! A hand-me-down win takes JAonF1 DOTD.

Sorry Seb. You hit the marker in avoidance but it was enough to give people an excuse to nullify your podium from pitlane result. When you give them perfection - it's not enough. When you give them drama - it's not enough. Oh well....

30

Don't forget a move from 4th to 2nd at the start. That allowed him to take the "hand me down win" - if he'd stayed 4th at the start he wouldn't have won the race...

31

Hey Wayne. Reliability is part and parcel when it comes to F1. Kimmi won, Lewis came "DNF". Go check out the F1 website - it's a cold hard stat.

32

Hamilton had a DNF. What could have and other speculative thoughts remains as such. So no point putting Hamilton in the list. I know it is harsh but it is fair.

33

Why should there be one?? He drove as expected until his car let him down. He shouldn't be a factor in this vote.

34

Lewis only needs to roll down pit lane on Friday morning to get DOTD on this forum 😉

If he makes an overtake he is DOTWeekend.

35

@Mojo@Steve ....all the while taking in how lucky Seb was I couldn't help but harking back to Button's best ever drive last year in Canada. Sything though the field displaying his sublime car control in changing conditions to beat Vettel in Newey's uber car....I seem to recall a SC was involved and masively helped him...oh I think he might even has some issue mooving through the field (Alonso contact)...clearly was the driver of the day.

All this Seb loathing is getting a bit much. It's gotten to the point where it's hard to read through comments after a race.

Seb has 26 wins and I'm guessing 0 DOTD...Hammy 20 wins/ Button 14 wins and I'm sure a real sweet DOTD/Win ratio.

As for the superior car aspect, seems only to be an aid to Seb whereas all the other great champions won despite their car.

36

@Mojo, don't forget no safety cars or retirements (note that this requirement apparently does not apply when Jenson Button does the same thing).

37

So true. For Vettel to become DOTD, he probably would have to drive in a car that is on a fire for the whole race, from last position to first lapping all opponents.

38

Maybe not but he would have been a clear winner of a Driver of The Weekend award

39

Karthikeyan would've been a clear winner of the award if he'd finished and won

40

I voted for Seb even though he only made about 40 overtakes.

41

Sadly the readership is extremely biased against Vettel.

42

Absolutely. A high number of participants on this forum are either extremely pro Hamilton or Alonso. Kimi has a decent following too for some reason. Vettel is despised by most of the readership as he punishes the above 3 drivers consistently. Whether by driving the best car or the worst car, Seb is treated with contempt. A driver should be measured against the only thing that is fairly available... his teammate. Seb beats Mark during qualifying & the race on a fairly consistent basis. He has done so for 2 or 3 years now. Webber is no bunny. He is fast and experienced and would be a credit to any team on the grid. He has the same number of GP as Alonso from memory. That said, Seb is faster than his teammate on a consistent basis. He is a fine young driver who performs above his level of experience every weekend. He is not the best driver ever to lace up a driving shoe (yet). He IS however every bit as good, fast, quick as Lewis. To critisise Vettel for winning or coming from the back of the grid to claim a trophy due to having the fastest car in the field is BS. How much faster is his RB? How much time did he make up to finish 3rd? DeLa Rosa finished ~ 73 seconds behind Vettel. Vettel finished ~4 secs behind Kimi. Vettel made up on avaerage >1sec per lap to finish where he did, from where he started. I dont believe the RB is >1 sec faster than the McLaren/Ferrari/Lotus around Yas Marina. Also, so what Vergne & Ricciardo moved over. Thy are just starting their careers and know where the money comes from. So did Glock in Brazil but I guess that was different.

43

I think the anti Seb sentiment comes because he hasn't played by the traditional dramatic narrative which we like our sports heros to follow. He hasn't had a period of failure either before or after an initial period of success which would allow the audience to experience some catharsis. Even the mighty Schumacher had the decency to not win the world championship for four years after winning the first two. Vettel just makes everyone else look silly. It was cute when he won in the Toro Rosso in 2008. It was generally excusable when he won he championship in 2010, but to immediately go and win it possibly twice more just doesn't fit any of the story arcs we want to construct. How can such a young guy get that mature that fast and win in three distinct rule systems? You see it written often Alonso deserves to win the championship. As though it's his turn. But this is why sport is sometimes better than stories: you don't know what's going to happen and what does happen doesn't fit what "should" happen. I love sport for that very reason.

Robin

44

Some ppl call it the tall poppy syndrome

45

Miner, as I said in an earlier post. When Seb starts losing badly, his fan base will increase. If he keeps winning like this, he will only have Christian and Marko and is most loyal fans following him.

46

Alonso has been racing in F1 since 2001. He has 30 wins from 195 starts. He's a two-time WDC.

Raikonnen has been racing in F1 since 2001. He has 20 wins from 174 starts. He's a one-time WDC.

Hamilton has been racing in F1 since 2007. He has 20 wins from 108 starts. He's a one-time WDC.

But the person who has by far the best stats is Vettel. He's been racing since 2006 in F1, has won 26 of the 99 GP's he's started, is a two-time WDC and is currently leading the WDC by a small but, nevertheless, significant margin.

Contrast this with Webber who, ostensibly, has the exact same car. He's been in F1 four years longer than Seb. He still has no WDC, and has finished no higher than third in the WDC since being with Red Bull from 2007.

He currently lies 4th and walks out of press conferences.

I STILL don't get the anti-Seb sentiment. Can someone help me?

47

Agree, but unfortunately thats what you get for having a completely dominant car (unfair to him though) for the last few years.

48

thank you!

49

You have to ask why though..... It's not a nationality thing, there is no bias against Schumi, Alonso etc etc.....

50

It's the underdog factor. Schumi's experienced similar fan rage when he had his streak. In fact he put ppl off F1 altogether. So Vettel winning WDC after WDC is not good for the sport. [mod]

51

When Schumi was racing for Ferrari he was hardly much loved either though. It mostly comes down to people being incapable of separating the (perceived) personality of the driver from their ability on the track.

Guys like Prost and Senna were hardly angels in their day either for that matter but now they are revered as some of the greats of the sport.

52

During the drivers parade vettel was joking "last year there were 50 overtakes so if I can do half of that I will lap the field"...

53

He only overtook button...

54

took him far too long to get past button who was on used primes compared to vettel's new options

hamilton or alonso would have won the race in such a fast car with that amount of luck

55

Button's tyres had some 22 laps of usage.

Vettel's had quali + some 15 laps race usage.

I don't know how many laps did he do in quali with those tyres but there seems to be an advantage on the German's side (appart from arriving to turn 11 faster due to the immediate previous DRS zone)

56

Then why did Alonso take so long to overtake Maldonado and Webber. Why did Alonso not overtake Petrov in 2010.

57

Vettel's options were fresher, but not new. They had done qualifying

58

So who are you voting for given Alonso only made one significant overtake on a Williams with no KERS and Kimi made no significant overtakes - other than off the grid.

?

59

How come Kimi made it 2nd by the end of the first lap from 4th on the grid without overtaking?

60

Remember - Ferrari is a bullet off the start-grid and also has been the fastest on a race day. They are a little weak on hards though.

61

Come on people, Webber was a orange cone yesterday. Passing him was like passing the start finish line - it's just there for the passing.

Maldonado was just trying to bag some points and stay out of trouble. He's not going to get in the way of a Championship fight here.

62

Ohh com'on... Alonso overtook f.i. Webber, Maldonado AND Button.

63

Did you see Alonso overtaking Webber on first lap, from outside, without DRS? [mod]

64

Way to call it out!

You get my vote for comment of the weekend. No one pointed this truth out. Everyone ignored it for their voting convenience.

65

Oops - my error Fernado overtook Webber as well didn't he.

66

Weird that you missed Alonso's pass on Webber on the 1st lap (no DRS), sorry for you as it was by far the best of the race.

67

Seb did ONE significant overtake , against Button . The rest was easy with people too slow , or people taking out each other before Vettel . He is a lucky boy .

68

Cmon... Are we really talking of a driver who lost almost the entire 3rd practice session, qualified third and then had to start last as luckly. He gained one place because of the safety cars, but without what happened on Saturday he could have won the race. Overall he was unlucky in Abu Dhabi.

69

+1

Also, I am still baffled as to how a penalty for a technical issue can lead to someone being allowed to completely change the set-up of the car for race day to favour a completey different strategy.

70

If I had my way, disqualification from qualifying should mean that you are unable to make setup changes - you get a major advantage changing setup for the race so this (partially) nullifies the penalty surely??

Or the penalty could be a choice. Either you start from the back of the grid with the setup you had in quali, or you leave parc ferme (as anyone else could elect to) and have a time penalty applied at the end of the race.

It doesn't seem correct that a penalty can be side-stepped in this way.

71

the option of wihdrawing your car from parc ferme and starting from the pit lane is open to everyone. Red bull chose to do this as the penalty given out meant that Vettel would have to start from the back of the grid anyway.

72

Exactly. It only works with a super fast car though

73

You mean luckly like Alonso who was able to over take the willias of pastor because he has kers issue? or Lucky like Kimi who was able to win because Hamiltion retired??? If you watched the formula 1 living timings you'll see that the first safety car actually hurt him more because his damaged wing that needed replacement sent him back from 12th to the end of the grid. If he were in 12th his back to the leaders would have been around 12 seconds after the restart. But he was 21th and last with a gap of 23 seconds to the leaders. So the first pit stop dint help him position wise. If he wouldnt have had to pit and retake all the positions he lost he might have even finish first or second who knows.

The second safety car came out(lap 39) after he was already in 4th position i.e after his second pit stop(lap 37) so the only advantage he got was getting to the back of Button. He had already beaten all the other cars on the track purely on speed and strategy. He could have caught button because he dint have to overtake anyone on track and on the options he was about 1 to 1 1/2 seconds faster than button. Although it is debatable if he could catch him before the end or over take him. So the only position Vettel gained due to the safety car was of Button. And there is no luck in racing. Successful drivers make their own luck.

74

Dear Veena setup changes compromised his overall lap times it made him slower over the course of the entire lap but gave him higher gearing for overtaking which was necessary for him to overtake on a track notorious for overtaking. If you do remember Alonso lost the championship here two years ago because he couldnt overtake. If according to you we were to accept that the setup change guarantees a podium finish then why dint redbull start the qualification on the same setup??? The setup changes only allowed him to have a higher top speed and 7th gear to overtake on a track that is notorious for overtaking but he lost out on the fastest setup for the race. And if it were an advantage to change setup and start from the pitlane, why dont all the drivers change their setup and start from the pitlane??? Do you even understand the meaning of superfast setup??? why qualify on any setup other than the superfast setup??? The qualification setup is always the ideal setup unless a team gets it wrong or it rains. The pitlane setup was an compromise and not the fastest setup.

According to your logic all drivers who start from the pitlane with setup change will end up on the podium. I am not saying it was a flawless race he did make two mistakes but he was one of the few who pulled off so many overtakes.

Mark dint cause the collision to aid Vettel. Mark is the last person who will aid Vettel willingly. He would rather see Alonso as champion. In fact Vettel two seconds behind him before he was called into the pits. Regarding the accident Mark would have know paster had kers issue. So he did what what every driver would do go for it and expect pastor to give him enough room. But he dint leave him too much room so Mark was more responsible but it was deemed to be a racing accident. And for your information without the second safety car he would have easily finished 4th(because it came on lap 39 and he had already pitted on lap 37 and was already behind button ahead of the car train wreck that caused the second safety car. And i am pretty sure if it werent for the stupid mistake his team made on saturday for which he isnt to blame he would have won the race.

75

@Venna - also, soft is not worth 1-2 secs as you imply - should be a max .8 sec difference

76

Wondering whether you purposefully forgot the new set of soft's he got in the first pit stop, which made him faster by 1-2 seconds compared to the leader. He was actually more than 30 seconds behind, before the safety car with hard tires. If he had continued with that and with a one stop(without the second safety car) he would have finished 5-7, which is not a big deal with a super fast car setup up to overtake as James mentioned. If you say that Kimi is lucky, you have to see 2005 Japanese grand prix to see how to win from 17th. That is how a faultless champion's drive should be, not like taking front wings. Vettel is able to survive as he mostly starts from the from 2/3 rows, if not he will be another Maldonado/Grosjean . Also don't forget the help he got he got from Mark, who caused some collision which look flimsy.

77

Not new, they were used. VET did not have any new softs left after quali

78

ditto!

I have already placed Seb in the category as the quickest single lap dude to ever sit behind the wheel of an F1 car - even more than my hero, Jimmy Clark, Mario, Senna and others...

He is slowly gaining my appreciation toward being among the greatest drivers in F1 history.

79

Certainly it was expected at least third from Vettel, considering he has the fastest car on the grid, with the additional adjustments post-saturday drama, extremely lucky by safety cars, retirements and also in the overtaking... JUST SAYING. Great race!

80

I was firmly in the Vettel doubter camp and to an extent still am and i dont rate him at the same level as Alonso and Hamilton however after today and also the brilliant overtakes into the bus stop he made back in Spa then i have to say that the Vettel can't overtake rumours should now be put to bed.

Vettel was astonishing today. I'm a massive Kimi fan and actually don't really like Vettel but to anyone who says Vettel was lucky then surely Kimi was even luckier. A good start and then just help position to then end after Lewis retired, whereas Vettel made about a million passes and yes he made a few mistakes but overall today he was on fire.

Also the more you think about the fact that he only wins when he basically has a missile for a car cant be entirely true otherwise Webber would be second everyrace when clearly he's not so Seb must be a little bit special, whether he's as special as Alonso and Hamilton im starting to believe that maybe he is.

81

Vettel is bound to score many more WDCs than Ham and Nando. So he will be special for achieving that.

82

@Craig. good post. I have been saying that for 2 years now...

83

Remeber 2 pace car situations and the last one just after his last pit stop! He would at most finished 8-12 without them. I say 50% luck the rest a good drive.

84

The second safety car let him finish 3. But the first one allowed him to at least restar with all The cars packed up. Imagine just having to change front wing without safety car, he wouldve been 15 seconds of the last man. And he was also kucky lots of people ran into eachother,allowing him to move up fairly easy (im not denying he made lots of overtakes,but he setup his car however he wanted so big advantage there). Thats why kimi is driver of the day for me

85

Yes but the field being bunched up behind S/Car meant that by pitting he went from 13th to 21st so he lost out on track position big time

86

You are not remembering things very precisely. Vettel had already made his second stop before the second safety car period -as you say, but he was already fourth, so at best it helped him finish third instead of fourth. As for the first safety car, it did help Vettel, until he ran into the foam barrier and had to stop early, putting himself right at that back again. Yes, Vettel had some luck, but not nearly as much as you surmise. He had to pull himself up through the order twice.

87

I share your thoughts magnus. I believe he had a decent drive but I mean that move with Senna was stupid, he could've just waited for next DRS zone, easy overtake. And Ricciardo same thing, Ricciardo was just braking to keep tyres temperature and Vettel got caught napping.

I do believe both SC helped Vettel sooo bad, without that help he wouldve probably got like 7th or 6th.

88

Yes, Vettel can overtake, they all can to one extent or another. I still say that put him in a car next to Hamilton or Alonso and he'd never win a wdc again, though.

89

If starting him at 24th on the grid and still finishing on the podium isn't enough, what is?

90

Wayne have you considered for a moment that Ferrari were interested in Webber for 2013 for 2 reason first he is highly rated and has beaten all his teammates except Vettel and second to see how well he compares to Alonso, so they could take a realistic call on Vettel Alonso pairing. If he could match Alonso it will be very complicated for Ferrari as they have heavily invested in Alonso untill 2016. Knowing where Vettel stands in relationship to Alonso would give them some headway to make a decision(remember ferrari dumped kimi for Alonso will they do the same for Vettel???). Either way Its not an easy decision, Alonso wants no 1 status that is why Hamilton was not signed at Ferrari when his management approached them because Alonso Vetoed it. That is also the reason that Hamilton seems to be reaching out to Alonso lately because if he can get Alonso to change his mind, Hamilton will have a seat with Ferrari if his plans go awry with Mercedes. And bringing in Vettel too would disrupt Alonso no 1 status if Vettel beats Alonso consistently. It would lead to another Lorengo Rossi type situation where Alonso would be asked to take a pay cut as having two Drivers i.e multiple Word Champions like Vettel and Alonso would be a very expensive affair. Yes Alonso is a complete driver equal or greater in speed to Hamilton but more consistent and potent in performance againt him over an entire championship. But as they have never been paired we cant judge if he is faster than Vettel??? Assuming Vettel win just because of a fast car is absurd. Where was Alonso before he joined Ferrari and after he left Mclaren??? All drivers need a fast car to perform its only the best that extract that little bit more. They myth of Ferrari being slow during a race is bullshit. It has been the most consistent race car this season. Unfortunately a teammate like massa makes Alonso look spectacular, no offense to Massa but after his accident he isnt even an shadow of his old self.

91

Ouch!

Hamilton suffering brings out the bitter in you.

92

LOL 🙂

Will the discussion on, "Can Vettel actually CLAIM victory by having to fight his way up & overtake?" be put to rest for some time now 😉

Can Vettel really be blamed if he's made the most of the fact that he has the best horse in the show & the best horse-trainer (Newey) in his stable; and has generally put together a perfect quali lap & makes a clean get-away on Lap 1

Well, he did/ had none of those this time around & carved his way up; making (like Glennb said ;)) just about 40 overtakes along the way 😉

93

I do think Vettel had an amazing race for real. But the safety cars made His day also. I also think he had so much look by everyone crashing and stuff he made up lots of places like that. Also the move against Senna was pretty lame, and against Ricciardo was all his fault too (remember button inciddent in singapore,the man in front you controls the pace while mantaining at least 5 cars space).

So yeah Vettel had an amazing race but for me it seems that he still makes some mistakes overtaking cuz he is used to just going pole and win with a good car.

94

I said he had a amazing race, but the reasons I explained before is just my reasons to vote for kimi instead of Vettel... He did make some places when people crashed during the race, I did watch the race bro, you need to respect other people comments.

Now I ask you, how many passes did Vettel really do in the race?, I mean that was because of racing and not because of just having a better car with a pure race setup.

He made 2 awful driver 100% fault errors, pass againts Senna and the incident with Ricciardo (Dont say It was ricciardo's fault cuz in Singapore Button almost ran into the back of Vettel for same thing). He was very lucky to just had to change front wing WHILE safety car and not during the race (it would've cost him so much more). Second safety car helped him to get into the podium, Button was far gone and the tyre gap between soft and medium dissapears when the tyres are getting older.

So I do think it was a pretty nice driving from Vettel, he is really really fast. But still voted for kimi, thats my point, as I respect all others people opinion.

95

Alberto did you watch the race? Vettel didn't make up any places when people crashed. In the first Safety car he had to go to pits and was left at the end of the field again. On the second safety car he had already passed the group that crashed. He was ahead of Webber when he crashed.

Why is it so difficult to accept that Vettel is great driver? He has a great car, but so does Webber and look at what each one has done with the same resources. Vettel's drive this weekend was remarkable. He made some mistakes but he also made it clear that he knows how to overtake(He had already done that in Monza last year, when he passed Alonzo in an epic way).

At the end it's OK he may not have DOTD but he has 2 WDC and pretty soon they will be 3!

96

It is getting ridiculous and impossible for Vettel to impress. His race in Abu Dhabi was one for the history books. It's time to start recognize he can scrap it up to recover real points from anywhere in the field. The car is definitely necessary, but equally not sufficient to make results like he had.

97

We're they all overtakes? I guess they were

98

James, Vettel didn't hit Ricciardo. He swerved to avoid the Toro Rosso when Ricciardo braked under the safety car, and Seb hit the foam DRS sign which further damaged his front wing. I think Button had a similar incident with Vettel at Singapore.

100

Tyler - he said almost hit!

101

@Kb, I was commenting on the article as written at the time I made my comment. And at the time, it said that Vettel hit Ricciardo. Shortly after my comment was posted, the wording was changed, no doubt in response.

@Marcus, as my comment said, he hit the DRS sign. That is what caused the damage.

102
Marcus in Canada

I believe Vettel actually hit the wall with his front wing end plate when he swerved...

103

He didn't say that at all "...and then almost hit Daniel Ricciardo, behind the safety car, instead striking a marker board and breaking a part on the side of the front wing."

104

Hi Tim. It's me (the other Tim). I was the only one using this name, and have been for some time. This could be confusing. I'd prefer to keep using "Tim", rather than "change horses in mid-stream". However if you want to keep using "Tim" please let me know and I'll change my online posting name. Please respond asap. I think I've replied to you half a dozen times but keep I guess we keep missing the connection.

Yours, in good faith,

Tim

105

There are three Tims!

106

To: @stevenst -

Your sentiments are received in the spirit they are given.

Cheers,

Tim

107

Hi, Tim.

This is the first time I have posted on here so I couldn't of been me. 🙂

Feel free to keep using it.

Cheers

@stevenst

108

Superb race by Kimi. But my vote goes to Vettel who stormed through the field twice and dispelled the myth that he can't overtake.

109

But Vettel had a car setup suited to overtaking, while the rest of the field had a quali-compromised setup. What will convince many of us is if he had the same car as the rest and stormed through the field.

110

Couldn't agree more, he did the best overtaking of the year!

those HRT's, Caterhams & Murrussias are really hard to get past! As for the way he 'overtook' the Toro Rosso's when they jumped out the way was just magic!

Then when he cam across the serious competition thay all tripped over themselves & as for Webber, how lucky he got behind him JUST as he made a pit stop.

So yes he had a good & sometimes lucky driver... outstanding err nope, not in the slightest

111

Please be honest, Vettel was able to setup his car entirely for the race, and race only.. Plus he had the fortune of having two safety cars at the right moment..

Also the errors that he made were clearly evidence that Vettel tumbles under presure..

I voted Alonso for DOTD, bevause he produced a hand full of laps after each other that were the fasted of the race..plus that it was a flawless race again!

112

Sure, his overtakes on the Toro Rossos were breathtaking 😉

Don't get me wrong, he drove very well (also made several mistakes) but his only serious overtake was on Button on much newer tyres.

113

Evidently you were watching a different race, because in the race I was watching he also overtook DiResta, Grosjean, Senna and Schumacher apart from the ones you mention. Or do you consider Vettel so good that he can overtake them even when he is not serious 😉

114

Not sure you can say he has dispelled the myth (if there ever was such a thing), overtaking using DRS and the tightened 'one-move-only' (i.e. no defending) rule mean that overtaking is hardly difficult these days for F1 calibre drivers.

It was still a remarkable drive, but not because of his car passing ability.

115

Vettel for me this time. Very nice recovery. If he didn't damage his front wing he would have won this gp.

It's quite funny reading all the comments about this guy. Starts from the front and wins by 20 seconds - bad. Starts from the pit lane and finishes on the podium - bad. So what that he was helped with 2 safety cars? You make your own chances, he was lucky but he also did all the hard work.

And that's from a guy who wishes Alonso the third title. But credit where it's due!

116

Vettel made some strange errors, during his fight to the front..for me that was evidence that Vettel struggles with pressure. And indeed the fact that the safety cars came at the right moment, you cant deny that..

Nevertheless again an outstanding achievement by the young German..

I truly hope he doens't become a 3rd DC this year, because he and the car makes it look too easy. But on the other hand, if he does win it.. he deserves it.

117

That's what I'm trying to say all the time.

It's nice to see fans capable of clear thinking, like you.

I'm a Vettel fan, but I am also one of the first to admit that Alonso is the most complete driver at the moment and is doing a hell of a job this year.

Like you said: credit where it's due.

118

u betcha! have nearly given up on all the [mod] and holly rollers on other sites' comment area. so happy to see a much more knowlegable group here week after week.

120

My vote goes to Lewis, another outstanding performance.

Not every driver can get away with being so rough with machinery that the fuel pump breaks. The force with which he managed to hit those kerbs must have been quite special!

Well done Lewis, another outstanding performance to make all us Brits deservedly proud of you!

121

What a load of [mod]. As if Hamilton can help it that his car is made of paper mache.

122

The paper mache holds up quite well usually, this time it was the Mercedes fuel pump drive!

123

Well said: hamilton was in a class of his own, even if most here don't like to hear it!

124

How on earth do you decide that it was somehow Lewis' fault ?

My guess is you are not actually quite as British as you say, to come up with quite such a deluded view of matters you sound like a Spaniard pretending to be Brit. Not exactly the first time that incredibly sophisticated trick has been played is it ?

126

All 3 were pretty amazing today. Hamilton too. Honourable mention to Kob.

127

I voted for Seb because he made up so many places. It would have been so easy for him to bin coming through the field yet he put it on the podium from last. You don't see that very often!

Mixed feelings though because I think Alonso might have won if he'd been 4th in the Red Bull on new softs after that second restart, and Kimi's delivered a perfect performance AND produced the funniest radio transmission since Rob Smedley's "Felipe Baby".

They all delivered today. I don't think I've enjoyed the drama of F1 so much since Spa '98.

128

Vettel was lucky because a lot of top 10 contenders have taken eachother out.

Grosjean, Hulk, DiResta, Perez, Webber, Massa, Rosberg.

These guys above could have finished ahead of Vettel or at least make his life a bit harder, but instead they have taken eachother out.

In regards to Kimi, what is he trying to prove by speaking like that? Now I understand why teams don't like Kimi. I don't know if Lotus and their sponsors are happy that their "ambasador" is speaking like that on live TV. That was rude, impolite and uncalled for.

129

Yeah I'm a fan of Kimi and getting really bored of his same lines. I don't mind if he wants to be cheeky and give the interviewers a hard time ( sorry James) BUT I wish he would say something else and address the question not say "last time..." We're not talking about last time we're talking about here and now . Anyway..as long as he keeps driving like a bullet I'd be ok.

As for Vettel ( I think that's who James was referring to) - he was much worse to drop the f- bomb that's just stupid- he was caught up in Kimis hype I think .

130

Thanks Elie. I didn't pick up the F-word from Vettel. I'll try and look it up on youtube.

131

Oops was intended for the post further up - from Mister on podium talk.

132

What are you talking about????

Vettel overtook most of those way before they were taken out, with the exception of Hulk...

133

You must've watched a different race because Vettel never seen the back of Massa, Rosberg, Perez, DiResta(or he might've on the first lap as DiResta was limping back to the pits with a flat tyre).

We all saw what he did when he came behind Webber. The team had to pit Webber as Vettel could not passed him just like he did with the likes of Caterham or Torro Rosso.

134

Well shouldnt we keep a bunch och Massa drivers, alot of talk and less driving.

135

James et al,

For those saying that Vettel was 'lucky', this lists the overtakes and the circumstances he faced:

http://f1stats.blog.com/2012/11/04/sebastian-vettel-21-on-track-overtakes/

Interesting that the 2nd safety car MIGHT not actually have helped him (it only gained him 1 place regardless)...it closed the gap to Button, however it cost him race laps and he may have closed that gap anyway as he was approx 1 sec per lap faster. He also has DRS disabled for a couple of laps after the safety car went in.

That's still a very decent drive in my opinion, and well worth DOTD...

Not to mention that the qualifying issue was unlucky for him (not Red Bull) as he was the 3rd fastest even without his last qualifying lap.

Cheers,

-Vinto

136

As i said before the second safety car came out on lap 39 after Vettel was already in 4th position i.e after his second pit stop(lap 37) so the only advantage he got was getting to the back of Button. He had already beaten all the other cars on the track purely on speed and strategy. So he was already ahead of the group you mentioned

137

Look out for the UBS Race Strategy Report tomorrow for a full analysis of Vettel's strategy

138

Not nearly as rude as Seb in the podium interview - absolutely disgusting and I hope he is censured by the FIA

139

To be fair, English is not his first language. He will be used to the people in his team using these swear words in everyday language. But it takes time for a foreigner to appreciate that under NO circumstances should you use these words on TV or radio or in other public situations.

I still remember Ralf Schumacher always using "bl**dy" in his interviews ...

140

He once said worse than that in a live interview with me on ITV..

141

James - are you responding to what Seb did or what Kimi said? Your answer isn't clear to me.

However, I agree that Kimi's response is uncalled for and impolite and should be sternly warned.

142

Oh lighten up. It's obvious the drivers were up to something just to [mod] DC.

When drivers are robots on the podium, everyone complains the lack of character in F1 today.

When they show some emotion or goof off/swear; everyone gets up in arms.

I can see why KR doesn't like to deal with the press etc, no matter what he does he can't win!

143

It is actual an offense to curse in publuc in Abu Dhabi - sentences range from a heavy fine to imprisonment.

144

haha. u guys should hear the radio banter all race long between Chad & Jimmie in Nascar. not on public tv, but avail to any bible thumper or little kid with an internet connection!

145

He was just showing off, like an immature teenager. Pouring sticky stuff over Coulthard's head when doing 'interviews' was a way of drawing attention to himself as well as the swearing.

I don't think the Arab hosts will have been at all impressed.

146

What did he say? I didn't rly pay attention to the interview, as Seb started to do his usual 5 min boring monolog. What did he say?

147

He definitely should be, that breaches all kinds of protocols and is very out of character for him, especially when public speaking.

148

Kimi was driver of the day just for his comments over the radio and on the podium. Classic.

149

There is nothing priceless about it. It was simply being rude and impolite.

I think next time he wins, he better not come to the podium - won't it be correct as (according to people like you) he just likes racing?

150

I totally agree, it was priceless. Vettel did a good job though, helped by starting from the pitlane. It allowed him to optimise his car for the race and it kept him out of any first lap mayhem.

151

Geez, this is a tough one.

Kimi: made just one splendid move at the start, attacked Hamilton once, and then was just managing gap and pace.

Fernando: overtook Button and Webber without DRS, got past Maldonado, nicely defended his position, chased Kimi to the end (but too late).

Seb: was twice at the end and finished third despite that, getting past Button. On the other hand, he touched Senna, he almost bumped into Ricciardo, again he overtook outside the track (Grosjean) and was extremely lucky with safety cars, which gave him chance for unique strategy and dozens of seconds, too (not to mention "passes" on TR cars).

In terms of pure grid/finish comparison, it must be Vettel.

In terms of racing against top drivers, it is Alonso.

In my heart, it goes to Raikkonnen 🙂 (let's say for his rocket-like start and to avoid Alonso's monopoly)

152

Completely agree. +1

A good point of view.

153

A fine balanced assessment.

154

What! I'm a little surprised at those results.

I would have thought even tho vettel isn't everyone's cup of tea he would be winning by a mile.

Kimi's win was the best of the season but Vettels was the drive of the season.

155

I voted Vettel - and I don't really like him - but I can understand people not voting for him. He was scrappy and he was very, very lucky with the safety cars. Still impressive though.

156

It is not yet proved to me that Vettel is at the level of ALO or HAM. Yes he really is one of the current best, but today only seems like he is a driving god.

In reality he was helped by many factors today. First off, he earned a couple of places at the start due to accidents, then passed some backmarkers which is really easy, the torro rosso(s) helped him, webber gave him a couple of places due to the cars he took out, additional dnf’s, two safey cars, and then his team ordered webber in the pit.

On top of that he has the very best car on the grid which makes everything so much easier.

Yes, it takes a very good driver to be able to profit from all this, but the claim that Vettel isn’t that good from the back still isn’t debunked. Because, what did he do? He kept a fast pace with an extremely good car and that’s it. Maybe one or two real passes.

157

I am a Ferrari and Alonso fan but voted Vettel this time after driving a very good race, but like other said, it was a easy race for Vettel.

Other guys who could have finished ahead of him have taken eachother out.

This just shows that Vettel and RBR's popularity is rly rly low.

158

Doent anyone here pay attention to the race the second safety car came out(lap 39) after Vettel was already in 4th position i.e after his second pit stop(lap 37) so the only advantage he got was getting to the back of Button. He had already beaten all the other cars that took each other out on the track purely on speed and strategy. None of them had the speed to catch him or overtake him

159

Not a personal vote for me...I went for Alonso...despite the fact that I'm not a fan & can't stand Ferrari. He just didn't make any mistakes. Vettel made 2 which is why he had to have his front wing changed. He really was a very lucky guy this weekend...including not getting punched by DC for pouring Rose water all over him!

160

James, I would like to understand why everytime Alonsi

gets some result with Ferrari, he got it with a bad car?

He clearly had the faster car at the drs zone.

This is based on qualifying? Because I think Ferrari has the best package for the whole season, thinking about the race. Since the first GP of the season Ferrari had a very strong car for the race, and they had NONE dnf the whole season.

Answer me, are your opinion based on Alonso vs. Massa? If so, what is the McLaren car, Jenson or LH's car. Why not say that LH is putting at the front row a car that Jenson many times can not go into q3? Really, we are treating Ferrari as a "poor child" and that is bs. In my opinion Alonso has a serious problem doing flying laps.

161

I think you are very wrong in your analysis, Alonso has done plenty of pole positions when a car capable of doing so has been at his disposal. This has not been the case during his 3 seasons at Ferrari, and still he has managed to be fighting for 2 WC until the very end.

162

No one has ever suggested that the Ferrari wasn't a 'fast' car - they have a superb engine after all. That though is not really significant in a formula where aerodynamics are the critical factor, and the Ferrari has been about as good as a pushchair in that area this season.

I think you will struggle to find anyone - fans, journalists or professionals in the sport who sincerely believe that Alonso has done anything this season apart from drive the wheels off a very average F1 car, and has done so whilst driving at levels almost reaching perfection at times. His only problem with 'flying laps' is that the Ferrari isn't good enough in corners - look back over his career for evidence that he can qualify as well as anyone else - but he has somehow managed to squeeze a performace out of it at every qually. Win or lose this season, Alonso has proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that he is The Man.

163

It is not possible to win championships in an "average" car. That Ferrari is excellent and always has been (aerodynamically or otherwise), just maybe occasionally not a match for a Red Bull or Mclaren but always there or there abouts. That is not intended to detract from Alonso's performance, but to say that it is all down to him is simply not true. Put him in a Force India, Merc or Sauber, what I would call "average" cars and he would be nowhere.

164

Alonso had fastest times of 1.41.5 in all three sections of qualifying. I doubt he would have messed up the exact same part by the exact same amount each time.

165

They all drove equally well, so Kimi gets my vote for the most entertaining radio chatter.

166

Really?!! No Hamilton?! You always seem to downplay his wins, when it's Vettel or Alonso it's Magnificent win, when is Lewis its swashbuckling. There seems to be a bias against him from you (putting the flame suit on). He dominated the weekend, and he was dominating today, he should be on this list.

167

Paraphrasing the response usually given in response to someone saying Vettel's supreme qualifying performances should come into it:

"It's driver of the day, not driver of the weekend."

168

That is so laughable I don't know where to start...

So I won't bother.

169

Maybe I'm being harsh on Vettel as it was a very good drive and result, but he did make some mistakes along the way. Clipped Senna, hit a DRS board, passed Grosjean off track.

Alonso was has usual self. Dogged and determined, what we've to come to expect every race Sunday. Made some good overtakes, and has kept a little bit of life left in the championship.

But Kimi gets my vote. Great start, obviously benefitted from Hamilton retiring, but had the pace in the Lotus to keep the lead. Never looked like losing it, even with Alonso closing right up at the end.

On another note there was some really poor driving from a lot of the field when it came to overtaking today.

170

Agree with these points. Any of these drivers could have been my drivers for the day. My choice was Alonso, purely on his gutsy overtakes. A couple were made without the DRS aid, if I'm correct?

Vettel's move on Button was plucky and determined. It was a shame there was some sloppy mistakes along the way but he kept himself well in contention and had it not been for these errors and some other drivers giving way to him far too easily, he's have been my pick.

Well done to Kimi! It was great to see him win after a cool and collected drive (apart from the hilarious radio messages!)

171

Between Kimi and Vettel for me, voting for Kimi for taking the victory and because he made fewer mistakes than Seb.

172

Oh yeah, not to mention two of the funniest team radio excerpts we've had all year!

174

WOW! I want that asap!!!

175

That's very cool.

176

All equal in my eyes!

177

What a race! This is hard at all this week

Vettel ... Obviously ... Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded! I'm not a fan of Seb and despite the fact he was a little ragged to begin with and aided by two safety cars it was a damned impressive drive - I didn't think he had it in him to be honest.

In second is Alonso - drove his balls off and achieved the maximum result possible - I think he really deserves to be champ this year, I fear that the incidents at Spa and Suzuka have ruined it for him.

Was fantastic to hear the Finnish national anthem playing after a GP again after such an absence - and Kimi's radio messages reminded me how much the sport has missed him!

178

Sam, think about the overtakes Seb did and the ones Alonso did.

If I'm not wrong, the only hard overtake Vettel had to make was on Button at the end, while being on pretty good Softs and Button on Hards.

Was there another overtake that was impressive?

In contrast, Alonso overtook Webber without DRS and then managed to defend from Webber which had DRS. Later he overtook Maldonado and than managed to defend from Button which had DRS. He broke the DRS distance from Button and started going for Kimi. Is not much, but I think Alonso did alot more yesterday than Vettel did, in terms that he had a harder race.

Also, remember that I voted for Vettel.

179

Have considered how many people overtook Webber in that race.

180

all three of these drivers showed why they are at the top. i haven't seen this type of competitiveness for a very long time. seb did a great job but clearly was helped quite a bit by an accident marred race. alonso showed once again how determined and clever he is in his approach to his race strategy but kimi has repeated made the best of his lotus continually pushing when he knew his car was not fast enough. today it payed off when hamilton lost it again. (if i was into conspiracy theories, i would be thinking mclaren didn't want lewis to win.)

181

Driver X started from Y position in Z GP and had an extraordinary drive through the field with bold passes and some help from the safety car and the race leader succumbing to mechanical failure.

Driver X = Alonso

Y position = 11th

Z GP = Valencia GP

Comments : Drive of the millenium!

Driver X = Vettel

Y position = 24th

Z GP = Abu Dhabi GP

Comments : Meh, lucky chap in a good car.

Lets see if Vettel makes it as the DOTD this time. 😀

182

Ok I'll bite.

Valencia:

Alonso started with the advantage of brand new sets of tires after slotting in 11th. He gained from the safety car, Lewis' pitstop bungles as well as Seb and Grosjean's engine failures, the latter who he'd passed on track after the safety car restart. Lewis was tied up with Maldonado and Romain lost his engine so Alonso didn't have to push as much towards the end. Kimi was pushed wide by Maldonado at the start and had lost several places. He was Alonso's nearest rival but was quite far behind and had no real pace to mount any sort of challenge. This was a race of attrition similar to Abu Dhabi.

The pass on Grosjean deserves a more detailed look. Alonso took a wider line into the second corner which gave him much greater speed out of the corner which allowed him to pass Romain. This is the kind of exemplary thinking that separates the racers from drivers.

Abu Dhabi:

Vettel started with the advantage of setup but with used sets of tires. Even with the setup changes the RBR is still not as fast in a straight line as their nearest rivals. He did gain from the safety cars but he also lost everything and had to start from the back again after the safety car bunched the field up together. This was of course his own making and were it not for that we would have seen some even more interesting racing towards the end. Both Vettel and Alonso gained places from Lewis' failure and to some extent the lack of challenge from Maldonado who had mechanical issues. To his credit, Vettel pushed hard to end up ahead of the fracas which took out Webber. It could be argued here that Webber was brought in a lap too soon to help Vettel. Alonso had a clear road ahead of him but probably fearing a late challenge from Vettel's fresher tires he did not push Kimi sooner when Vettel was chasing Button. This in my opinion was crucial and lost him the victory and seven points.

All champions require supreme skill, very good cars and a healthy dose of luck. Alonso might not have won in 2005 if it weren't for Kimi's faltering McLaren but that doesn't make him a lucky champion, he thoroughly deserved to win the races he did. Similarly the case for Vettel here and Alonso in Valencia. On a personal note, I'm very happy that my three favorite drivers are at the top of the championship! Though I was wishful in thinking that Kimi might have a good car post summer and get four wins in to win the championship.

183

As I said elsewhere, contrast this thread with the one from Canada 2011 where Jensen eventually won after starting from 7th and then dropping to the back mostly as a result of his own errors before coming back through the field:

http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2011/06/canadian-grand-prix-%E2%80%93-who-was-your-driver-of-the-day/

184

1. Alonso won the race, Vettel didn't. Great wins > Great podiums.

2. Both had luck with the safety car, but Vettel had significantly more as it played into his counter strategy twice.

3. Alonso (as far as I can recall) didn't make any significant mistakes in his race. Vettel broke his front wing against another driver then made (another) misjudgement behind the safety car.

185

Alonso didn't start from the pit lane in Valencia

186

Alonso did not change the car setup.

187

Vettel drove a great race but I still don't buy your reasoning. Please list Vettel's "bold passes" yesterday. I just counted one on Button on much newer soft tyres, I think I'll have rewatch the race to look for the rest. Surely you don't mean the ones over the Toro Rossos, right?

BTW Alonso did 3: Button, Webber and Maldonado, 2 of the witouth DRS.

Regarding the Toro Rossos, I do hope this is the last time we hear Alonso has the advantage of having a 2nd driver. Massa has not provided any help to Alonso in terms in championship points, while Vettel has 3 drivers at his disposal (Webber, Ricciardo and Vergne) to get out of the way whenever is needed. I think FIA should do something about this, don't you think?

188

straight line speed advantage over webber> maldanado was struggling. for alonso how come webber, button and maldaanado bcme fastest driver overnight. last heard about such incident, it involved hamilton, everyone was complaining about rules. Now many r complaining why vettel was allowed to start from the pitlane (double standard). give credit where it is due. why comparing vettel with alonso (just look at their age and experience)

189

That was +1000 for Nil's comment. Love it

191

It doesn't matter from which position you started if you only had one hard overtake the whole race. Except Button, Vettel didn't had to overtake any other fast driver.

That may be the difference why Vettel doesn't get the DOTD.

193

+1. Only comparing numbers is wrong and doesn't say anything.

Just look at how much cars crashed or let pass (Toro Rosso) yesterday and the pictures changes dramatically already.

And starting 11th to finish 1st means he took all of the fastest drivers on the grid except for a DNF of Mr. Vettel.

SV overtook only Button as a really fast driver to finish 3rd.

194

I think it has to be Raikkonen. Great start and didn't put a foot (tyre?) wrong all weekend. The radio messages are what clinched it 😉 Really a close call tho as all 3 drivers had great a afternoon.

195

I'm really waiting for the next season to hear the media saying that McLaren has a bad car as JB is 1s out of the pace... JB and Perez will have the same excuse as Alonso this year.

And for LH, Mercedez will have the best year's car...

James, LH was 1s faster than JB many times this year. And I'm sure if LH was driving for Ferrari this year, the opinion about Ferrari' s pace woud be different.

McLaren, Lotus, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedez.. All of them had the best car duringthis season, in one point in time. A really tight season, and people are trying to over rate just one driver.

196

I think Lewis drove really well all weekend & deserved to win. He is the quicker of the 2 drivers over a qualifying lap by typicaly 2-3 tenths of a second but JB tends to be more consistantly quick in races. If you look at their points over the 3 seasons they have been together there's nothing in it.

JB had the fastest race pace in the Friday long runs but lost balance for Sat & Sun. He's really struggled getting heat into the tyres this season showing his main weakness....lack of adaptability!

I felt your comment was high on opinion & low on factual content...maybe you should try to get Autosport online to gain a more educated opinion.

197

What are you saying?? You just need to look at the stats on F1.com.

Hamilton has many more wins, poles, and point in the three seasons as Jenson's team mate. Don't believe you are actuallly wonder that JB is a match for LH...

Just take a look as number of poles that JB has and you will see that were basically the Brawn GP's year.

The last year was an exception, and the first and this last one is the final argument.

Let's wait and see what JB will do at McLaren next year...

My point is that what people are used to say is "the Mclaren car", I think is LH ability. The Hamilton move to Mercedez was the best thing he did.

And please, it's not polite to try to end a discussion trying to disqualify others. Do I need to educate myself just because I have a different opinion than you? If you read the sites you point me, you will see that not many people actually do think about a comparison between LH and JB.

198

To look at there points total over the course of the 3 seasons doesn't really tell a true story. If you look at the seasons and how they played out you have a better understanding of the pro's and cons of each driver. In short the 2 seasons that there has been a chance of a championship Lewis was in front. In '10 he made errors at monza and Singapore as he was over aggressive trying to keep pace. This year it is clear that mclaren have let Hamilton down and it would be fair to say that spa excluded jenson has been disappointing. Obviously Hamilton was disappointing at the end of last year but it was clear his mind was somewhere else.

That said jenson is clearly possible of winning a title if mclaren give him the car. Jenson though I feel will have to watch his qualifying performances as these tend to leave him with too much to do on race day and Perez could really give him problems.

199

Or better still, read JA on F1!

200

Looks like Fernando is quite popular in Brazil, LOL.

201

How anyone can not vote for Seb is beyond me. Yes Raikkonen had an amazing race, as did Fernando and others, but Vettel was incredible.

202

You mean incredibly lucky.

First in quali he hit the wall and survived. In race broke his front wing twice, and survived. Had clearly the fastest car (after changed his setup under penalty) and with the help of 2 SC-a had to fight with Gro (almost penalized) and But only. The other cars were either out (7 DNF-s) or they moved away deliberately (TR) or accidentally (Massa).

You could call that skill, for me the word is LUCK.

Clearly Seb Vettel is a good driver, better that MW. BUT to be in a position 1 year from now to be FOURTH TIME F1 WDC, like HAM ALO RAI and together, is outrageous. All three of them are class above him.

In times when MSC dominated the field most of the time he had best car, yes - but most of the time he was the best driver. Clearly today there are better drivers than Seb Vettel but (in this part of the season - when he became so good) RB8 alone is in different dimension. With average car his results are average and people recognize and don't like that.

Still beyond you ?

203

So its OK for Ferrari drivers to win in the best cars, but not others? As James said, part of being the best is the knack of getting yourself into a winning car. MW did well on that score!!

Please show me a driver who has better stats than Vettel after 4 and a bit season of F1? As Vettel is not one of the best, there will clearly be stacks of drivers who measure up better.

Remember, Vettel has won in every full season he has driven in F1, and has never joined a team that could boast a grand prix win!

ps - 25% plus win ratio to!! And a win in a torro rosso from pole, why, torro rosso threaten that every grand prix don't they? Oly, please define what you mean by average results in an average car?

204

So what does this say of mark webber? Is he the worst driver out there then..........

205

Incredible? I wouldn't go that far. To his advantage he had...

1. Race optimised set up, he's car was fastest on the straight

2. Two safety car period which decimated the leaders lead

3. Some very unusual retirements/incidents ahead - eg. Hamilton, Rosberg, Perez, etc.

It was a good drive but he made mistakes and was very lucky!

206

You nailed it, some balance to Vettel´s drive, thank you.

An I would say Raikkonen won despite 2 safety car periods.

207

I agree, I voted Vettel, but he was very, very lucky. Lucky with the safety cars, lucky not to destroy his own race with scrappiness. But sill from the pit lane to 3rd, even with all the DNFs and luck, is impressive.

However if you take into consideration the luck he had with the safety cars and add another 40 seconds to Vettel's time (two pit stops), his result doesn't look that impressive, he would have finished in twelfth.

208

I voted for Kimi, mainly because Lotus is nowhere near Ferrari, McLaren or RedBull and he still finished ahead of them (except Hamilton's). That is good enough for me. Vettel's is phenomenal drive too, similar to Kimi's 2005 Japan victory (17th to 1st). But he did have a fast car which is about half-a-second faster than the other top-cars and a second faster than the bottom and mid-grid cars (same as Kimi in Japan 2005, but there he won). So he would come second in the list for best drives for today.

209

If Alonso had done what Vettel did this would be a none contest.

Raikkonen did very well but it was nothing spectacular, he really inherited the victory. Alonso was as consistantly brilliant as he has been all season long.

All three drivers deserve DoTD and potentially Hamilton too before his domination was cruelly denied by Mclaren Mercedes' typical incompetence.

Best race of the season and my vote goes to Vettel. His drive wasn't as flawless as Raikkonen or Alonso but he had so much more to do and what he achieved was spectacular.

210

and an additional note that it was great to see drivers pushing hard all race long rather than having to conserve pathetic tyres which seem to reward slow drivers.

If this track had been designed properly then DRS wouldn't have been needed either. Great tracks is what makes great racing, not artificial overtaking and certainly not 'cruise mode' tyres.

I begrudgingly accept DRS as an acceptable, cost-effective solution set against the alternative of redesigning the worlds circuits but these tyres have got to be able to let drivers attack all race long as we saw today.

211
Bjornar Simonsen

It is not yet proved to me that Vettel is at the level of ALO or HAM. Yes he really is one of the current best, but today only seems like he is a driving god.

In reality he was helped by many factors today. First off, he earned a couple of places at the start due to accidents, then passed some backmarkers which is really easy, the torro rosso(s) helped him, webber gave him a couple of places due to the cars he took out, additional dnf's, two safey cars, and then his team ordered webber in the pit.

On top of that he has the very best car on the grid which makes everything so much easier.

Yes, it takes a very good driver to be able to profit from all this, but the claim that Vettel isn't that good from the back still isn't debunked. Because, what did he do? He kept a fast pace with an extremely good car and that's it. Maybe one or two real passes.

Alonso is without any doubt the driver of the day if you ask me. Kimi did a real good job too.

This was a strange race.

212

If you don't think Vettel is as good as Alonso or Hamilton now, you never will. Even if he wins 5 WDC in a row, everyone like you will continually find reasons to deny him his achievements.

213

Driver of the day: Sebastian

Unluckiest of the day: Lewis

Favorite of the day: Kimi

Screwed over of the day: Mark

214

Well he got screwed over by being pitted so Vettel could come through, then released into the Perez squabble.

215

Well if he had any sense he would have let vettel through and then the team wouldn't have needed to screw him? Sometimes you have to know when your beaten.

216

Vettel was behind him for at least a lap and was catvhing very quickly on a different strategy. We then heard a message from the world feed by Mark's engineer saying 'not to fight him hard'. This message was relayed before webber was even pitted so it was clearly given at least a lap before.

Webber didn't do what he should have done and got screwed but to be honest his performance in the last few races it what has screwed him not red bull.

217

Don't think he was given the change to let Seb through. He was boxed very smartly. Still, his own fault, if he'd maintained P2 off the line, he would never have been in Vettel's/harms way deeper into the race.

218

Mark screwed over? I like Webber. I do. But he got a terrible start then ran his car into about 5 other people over the course of the race!

219

I agree, as a Webber fan. Definitely a bad day on the track for Mark - and this time, it was his fault.

220

I assume he's referring to him being pitted into traffic to clear him out of the way for Seb. I agree though, he had a poor race up till then.

221

If Vettel wins the championship, we will look back at this race and say that this is where he won it. Where he minimized his loss to Alonso.

If Alonso wins the championship, we will probably look back to India and say that this is where he won it. Where he minimized his loss to Vettel.

But today, it was Raikkonen all the way.

222

No option for Lewis seems a tad harsh as he was the driver of the day when all cars were out on track.

Also surprised with no mention for Kobayashi who took his Sauber from 16th to 6th, holding off Massa at the end, and gained crucial WCC points without having all the advantages associated with Vettel's drive.

None of that should takeaway from Kimi's impressive drive, however.

223

Vettel really demonstrated that he can deal with the toughest adverse scenario.

Vettel on the day was definitely much much greater than Alonso and Kimi. To have made so many overtakes on a circuit that is notoriously bad in overtaking really shows the true class champion that he is! Just ask Alonso about overtakes in Abu Dhabi, he was stuck behind 1 car for 40laps in 2010 hahaha...

I try to vote for Kimi because i like him.

224

Thats a lame comment. No DRS in 2010 thats all the reason for overtaking in abu dhabi.

226

Grow up man.

Alonso didn't have DRS back then...or conversely why did it take Seb so long to pass Button with fresher tyres and a car geared to overtake?

Rather childish isn't it...

227

Vettel pulled out so many overtakes on a track notorious for overtaking. Mark Webber failed twice perez caused a bigger accident. But every one fails to notice Vettel was twice at the back of the grid i.e last and he had pitted twice(lap 37) and was already ahead of all the cars that got taken out(lap 39) by the time the safety car came out. So he had beaten all the drivers either overtaking, by his raw speed and by his strategy

228

I can fully consider giving DOD to a driver even though he clips a car whilst passing. I can not consider voting for a driver when they take out a foam sign off the circuit during a safety car or attempts passes on other drivers off the circuit. Same driver showed poor and certainly childish form on the podium. Maybe it is a result of consuming to much of the sponsors product.

Whereas Kimi's fighting not only the other drivers but also his own team. Kimi was able to provide his team with a win in a car that is far from the best on the grid.

Honourable mention for Alonso to bring a struggling Ferrari home in 2nd to keep his WDC bid alive.

229

Found this lap chart:

Looks at the way Vettel climb steep hills time after time.

http://www.fia.com/en-GB/sport/championships/f1/2012/abu_dhabi/Pages/lap_chart.aspx

230

SV he went through the field twice,however it is a great win for the ICEMAN

231

Can't give it to Vettel, as I'm not sure about the rules that allowed them to change gearbox, ratios, suspension and aero - creating a mega overtaking machine.

This mitigates the penalty issued by the FIA - not saying RB did anything illegal but rules should be looked at.

232

Just wondering, do you think any other team would try to pull such a gamble when the championship is at stake ... especially in Abu Dhabi? Do you think Alonso will dare? I don't think so.

Vettel promised, and he delivered. That is what I admire in a true champion.

233

Yeah. my point was it wasn't such a gamble following the penalty - in fact as soon as I heard they were changing gear ratio's it was a no brainer.

Better to set the car up to overtake than start 24th - made the penalty a bit of a fingers up to you Charlie

234

all the other drivers were free to change gearbox etc and start from pitlane too but no one chose to do so.

Obviously a decent place on the grid is still preferable to having a "mega overtaking machine" but starting fron the pitlane.

235

Fair comment, and maybe McLaren should've done something like this when Jenson qualified outside the top 10.

It is the mitigation of being penalised for breaking the rules I object to - I agree was exciting to watch though.

236

Yup it's certainly an option the teams are going to start considering from now on! Should make for some thrilling races!

But I'd also point out that the changes to vettel's car actually made it slower round the lap, but merely optimised it to overtake in the DRS zones. He still needed to do the hard work in the corners in order to be able to exploit that straight line pace.

237

All teams are free to qualify nowhere with a mega overtaking machine if that's they way they want to do it. If it was so beneficial they'd do it intentionally.

I'd like to see more try it because from a spectator's point of view it's a lot more fun than pole to flag.

238

Sure Raikkonen won, but that was a shoe-in once he got into 2nd on the start and Hamilton retired. Vettel had to fight hard for his podium, which is why I'm voting for him.

239

- RAIkkonen : Faultless. Faster Alonso gave it everything but couldn't get near him.

He Knew what he was doing.

Driver of The Day.

240

Completely off topic but been laying in bed and can't sleep so got thinking and done some calculations. I've realised that if you add Lewis, Kimi, Fernando and Sebastian's together u get 95 race wins and 6 world championships although it will be 7 at the end of the year. To me it just shows how much Michael won with his 91 race wins and 7 titles. That will take some beating those statistics and if vettel does win this year he has a chance as he probably has another 12 years or so left in f1.

241

Vettel clearly has the best chance, and after him I doubt there'll be anyone along for a very long time, as he was the last in the line of the wonderkids who were able to step in a Formula 1 car very well prepared at a very young age with years of unlimited testing and Friday practice.

If he loses this year, Alonso will be in the unenviable position of having lost more title fights than he has won (Won 2005-06, lost 2007, 2009 and 2012). Hamilton is arguably worse off in that regard (Won 2008, lost 2007, 2010 and 2012, although I'd argue his opportunities in 2010 and 2012 weren't as good as Alonso).

242

I am an Alonso fan but have to say Vettel drove an amazing race. Yes, he made some mistakes but the magnificently motored the modified RB8.

243

I'm a Kimi fan, and I don't particularly like Vettle but there's no question it should be him.

If it were *any other driver in the field we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But as others have said here before it'll never happen on *this forum.

244

certainly not Button as he was bluffed by SV into believing that he has settled for 3rd, caught napping by SV as he launched a well timed 2nd round of attack on him

245

Started from pit lane, back to back of field in the 13th lap, one extra pit stop + change of nose cone (his own fault), and brilliant overtaking moves on a track where others could not emulate...

When Vettel wins from the front "its too easy and he cant race", when he comes through the field from last to 3rd, let me guess "he was lucky".

So was button in Canada 2011, so was Alonso in Valencia 2012. Sometimes you make your own luck, and its about never giving up and making the most of all chances. Give credit where its due...

246

please do not compare vettel's race from the back of the field to alonso's win in valencia earlier this year - there is a world of difference.

in valencia alonso started 11th with the same spec car that he used for qualifying - raced through the field and won.

vettel on the other hand made HUGE changes to his car in abu dhabi after being sent to the back of the grid, such as:

brand new engine (no penalty applies)

brand new gearbox (no penalty applies)

suspension changes (different to those used in qualifying)

modified gear ratios (different to those used in qualifying)

one of the most significant improvements after all these changes was the top speed - in qualfifying his top speed was 193.5mph - slowest of ALL cars in the speed trap. there is no way he could have made all those overtaking moves with such a slow top speed.

all these changes were made with the specific intention of optimising overtaking - there is no possible way he could have done what he did if he used the same spec car from qualifying.

alonso on the other hand, didn't have the advantage of all those set up changes in valencia

247

exactly so ; button was lucky and so was alonso

they were good enough to win the races

vettel was even luckier , but he could only finish third in clearly faster race optimised car

says it all

248
Spinodontosaurus

I honestly can't decide on this one. All 3 had very good drives; Vettel's being falttered quite heavily by everybody falling off the track ahead of him and perfectly timed safety cars.

He made a few clumsy moves too. Bumping Senna whilst trying to maintain the place. Nearly ramming Riccardo under the safety car, and overtaking whilst off the circuit. Again.

So I went for the guy who was last in the votings at the time, which was Alonso incidently.

249

Alonso was clearly the best driver. Who else can take the third slowest car and come out on the podium. Seb - has a great car - put him in a Maclaren and see what you get.

250

Since you say third slowest, please also tell us which one of Caterham, Marussia, HRT is faster than the Ferrari. Perhaps you can also convince Alonso to move to that team next year. And with the 4th slowest car, he might just become WDC next year.

251

Since when slowest car posts fastest laps? Get off your denial pils.

252

Vettel from P24 jump to P3..

253

No doubt about it. Vettel by a mile. Yes Kimi stuck it and finally topped the podium, but pit lane to podium?Phenomenal. Alonso had a great drive and, as usual, squeezed all of the red out of the Ferrari. Webber was a bit wild out there. Yet another weak start. I just don't get how he hasn't gotten the start down after so many years.

254

While Vettel's drive was impressive, it was helped tremendously by safety cars and no one can deny that he has by far the best package on the track.

So, my pick has to be Räikkönen.

Sub-par Lotus and a victory. If you're in doubt, just look at Grosjean's performance before retiring.

After the second safety car left the track...Those few laps were stellar: Alonso looked like a snail in a better car than Räikkönen's Lotus (in India Massa's Ferrari outpaced Räikkönen's DRS boosted Lotus).

255

While retiring, Grosjean was in 5th place, in a very long stint from the end of the pack (after the incident where he wasn't at fault). Sounds familiar to one guy claiming for DOTD, with difference as to the reason of being at the end..

256

I meant compare Grosjean's lap times to Räikkönen's lap times.

Position is insignificant considering the amount of retirements and other events during the race, which is exactly why I think Räikkönen drove the better race compared to the car than Vettel.

257

Hey JAonF1 fans,

I tried everything I could today to entertain you and be able to print out a copy of this poll I hoped to win to put next to my three WDCs. But alas, it may be a prize I never win. Therefore back to steamrolling the field from now on.

Yours, Sebastian Vettel

P.S. Thanks for standing up for me Sebee. I'll send you a pair of signed overalls after 2012 season ends.

258

Dear Mr Vettel,

Mess up as many wings as you like, and lose every DOTD poll from biased Ferrari and Maclaren fans, whilst Alonso and Hamilton keep sweet talking each other about how fantastic they are, but then again who cares?

You are on your way to be the Youngest ever Triple World Champion!!!!

HAHAHAHA....

259

Maybe you shouldn't have broken your front wing or messed up behind the safety car again 🙂

260

Very surprised to see Vettel with so many votes but it's still early days for this poll. James you should put up a poll with just Vettel in it for the last race and see if no one ends up voting.

261

Conspiracy theory #17.

James put a 2X multiplier script on Kimi's votes! 🙂

What is needed here is a Facebook "safety car" effort by Ze German fans with link to the JAonF1 voting page and request for their friends to vote for Vettel. Then Vettel can make a recovery and snatch this DOTD win from the jaws of defeat!

262

Vettel's doing pretty well in this poll, but there's no doubt that Kimi has a LOT of fans, who have been waiting a long time for this moment

263

Oh yes.

There is so much to admire about him. He is his own man, lives by his own rules. He concentrates on his own job and never talks about the other drivers.

264

:))))))

That may be the only way Vettel will ever win DOTD :))))

265

What about di Resta, Kobayashi, Senna, and Kov?

266

Kimi not the fastest car but drove brilliantly. Seb wa shelped alot did well but helped by safety card and reirements. He did take the opportunity though

267

Yeah Baby!!!!! Kimi, you LEGEND!!!

268

@james

y is it that i cant vote for more than one,kimi and alonso both were equally good n deserved to be driver of the day

269

Has to be Vettel for me today. Kimi had a spectacular start, then just drove it home in a car that he admitted had great pace (although admittedly fighting off Alonso at the end).

Alonso is a spectacular driver, and he'll be the first one to tell you. All we've heard all season is "the car is bad, but I was perfect and got the most out of it today". Go check the post-race press conference - I think he said perfect three or four times... all about himself. That aside, I agree he drove a solid race and definitely threatened for the win.

But both of these pale in comparison to Seb. While he clearly benefited from the safety cars, he still had to muscle his way through the field. Some of the accidents helped, but he passed some great drivers en route. And if he hadn't had to stop for a wing change, he could've won the race (he only finished 4.5 seconds behind Kimi).

And that's the bottom line for me. Regardless of the things that went in his favour today, he still started from the pits, went to last place again, and caught up to the leaders at a torrid pace.

How can you not pick a driver who started from the pits, took an extra pit stop, and still ended up on the podium?

270

Felt bad for Lewis-he was truly untouchable at Abu Dhabi.

Agree with James it was very hard to separate the top 3. But I would say Kimi was DOTD for a number of reasons :- firstly-blinder of a start, secondly he opened 9.7 sec to Alonso in the first stint and managed the pressure of 3 safety car interventions perfectly to be out of the DRS zone all three times. Sounds like nothing..but many lesser drivers would have buckled under-pressure or created pressure dealing with this & engineers advise. Kimis comments "...yes, yes , yes I know.." & "Leave me alone -I know Im doing" will be etched into F1 folklore forever-Classic !

Sebastian had the most dramatic GP of his career. But I could not give him DOTD as he clipped Daniel Ricciardo. Sure his fight back through the field was brilliant..but how ominously quick is the RB8.Three safety cars putting him in sight of the leaders in a car like that--well I actually thought he could win it for sure.

Fernando did a great start and strong finish but I was really surprised Kim opened up the space he did on the options. Were it not for safety cars kimi would have one by a big margin.

271

I was worried every single time, considering Kimi's history of restarts this season. And cause he was reminded of tyres. But his fastest lap of the bat was monstrous, deserves all the credit he got from Mark Brundle for that effort.

Both Vettel and Alonso enjoyed the circumstances that allowed them for such close finish, and rightly so they are satisfied with what they got.

272

Kimi was superb, a little lucky Hamilton retired but could not have driven a better race, the Lotus is still lacking top end but Kimi drove the wheels off it opening a gap after both SC restarts to negate the DRS effect. The best part was when Kimi told EB "he knew what he was doing" and butt out.

273

James, how many cars did Vettel actually pass on track?

No disrespect on a great job, I even voted him DOTD this time and he did start last and finish 3rd, but still, other than the class C cars, Toro Rossos, Webber and of course Button, he did not have to fight the tough midfielders but got them on pit stops and safety cars (and their own crashes)

On another issue, it does seem running in clear air does create a big advantage, whether it is a Red Bull, a McLaren or a Lotus, Kimi could not pass Massa in India, Alonso could not catch Kimi a week later

Congrtas as usual

274

For me the clear winner is RAIKKONEN & it has nothing to do with his driving. It's all down to his reactions with his engineer & during the interview with DC.

The best part is that he doesn't give a bip that many of us voted for him on this blog.

275

That might turn out to be against him.

No sponsor would like to have its name on the shirt of the guy who talks like that on live TV.

Also, no reporter would go and talk to Kimi on the grid. I actually don't remember the last time, Brundle or DC went to speak with Kimi on the grid.

I'm not sure the sponsors are happy with this lack of exposure.

This lack of exposure was before his comments on the podium on Sunday. I can't even imagine how fast the reporters will run away from him now.

276

I can see your point... if you are a money management company and you're having a cocktail event in the UK for a few rich 50 somethings that you want to sell on some investment product or luxury corporate travel scheme you want Jenson Button there in his Hugo Boss to work the room.

But if you're running a sports marketing program for a consumer brand targeting males 16-35 (Monster, Nike, UA) what you need is someone COOL. And the only drivers in F1 at the moment that are the least bit cool are Kimi and Lewis and in some countries Alonso.

The value of cool will be even more clear when the F1 movie about James Hunt comes out and really shows off the beautiful heritage of F1 as a sport where drivers jet set around the globe, partying all night, womanizing and regularly flirting with danger. The drivers were rock stars back then.

The reasons you cite for not liking Kimi are EXACTLY the things that make younger people fans. The fact that conservative types hate the way he acts just makes him even cooler.

277

To be cool you don't necessarily have to be rude and use vulgar language on live TV, agree?

279

Obviously Vettel and I voted for Seb but so happy to see Kimi was leading the poll! Great drive, it's nice when everyone is happy for someone!

280

I'm no Vettel fan but you have to give honor where honor is due! What a fantastic drive and lost only 3 points to Alonso in the drivers championship. Great race very entertaining indeed!

281

Hi James. It's very frustrating lately watching Mark Webber performing well on race weekend right up to Sunday. I know he has done well in the last part of his career with RBR, but for his sake I hope he changes his mind and calls it a day before the start of 2013. They had to box him on Sunday just to allow Sev Vettel through. Yes I understand why and no need to explain. That is we it all came apart. It's quite funny that his starts and mechanical issues get worse always at the end of the season when Sebs title is on the line. A common fact for the last couple of years. Why he signed for another year I will never understand.

282

My vote is for Mark Webber for being Entertaining and stealing that title from Romain Grosjean - who did his best to be part of The Show.

Credit also to Narain Karthikeyan for his ankle tap on Britney.

283

Tough choices. My Vote was Kimi simply because he didn't put a foot wrong all race and it wouldn't have been as close if it weren't for the two safety cars. OF course he benefitted from Hamilton's retirement, however, without it the next two drivers would have finished a position lower as well.

VEttel is 2nd in my book. Demoted to a pitlane start through no fault of his own. Laid the hammer down all race with clean racing and decisive overtaking all race. Benefitted wonderfully from the safety cars, but so what? Good on him.

Alonso is 3rd. Fantastic race. Great start and nearly took it to Kimi. However, simply not the dramatic result as compared to Vettel.

284

Kimi, no doubt

285

Seb is a clear winner for the way he overcome setback after setback, to challenge the front runners. In the process he skated on thin ice at times, but kept his cool. His tenacity reminded me of his first win in Monza, 2008

286

I would have voted for Vettel, but I don't think he was DOTD. He drove an amazing race no doubt. But things just seemed to fall into place for him which gave advantages that you wouldn't find in other races, and I found this quite annoying.

Secondly, his cry-baby antics inside the car and publicly naming and shaming Ricciardo on the podium following the race was pathetic. You're a world champion FFS. Must you blame others on the big stage for what was probably completely your fault?

Anyway... KIMI all the way. The driving. The attitude. The control. He's a true racer.

287

Seb had a good drive but it wasn't stellar. He destroyed his front wing in two seperate at-fault incidents and then got lucky with safety cars and a third of the field crashing themselves out.

288

Somehow Bruno Senna got overlooked here...

289

Came to say the same thing. Great recovery drive. Has had more than his share of bad luck this year.

290

Yes, and the sad thing is, he will most probably not be driving next year.

291

+1

Hit twice (once by Hulkenberg, once by Vettel), atrocious pit stop from his team dropping him all the way back to where he started, but still finished in the points.

292

There needs to be a fourth option for DOTD, 'all of the above'. If I had to choose though, I would say Vettel because he landed a massive psychological blow to Alonso who was probably expecting to claw back a few more than 3 points. He looked pretty devastated after the race and on the podium.

293

Driver of the day?

For me it was Hamilton though James chooses not to allow us this option!

The way he both pulled away & was controlling the race up to his fuel pump problem and more so the dignity in the way he behaved afterwards is a credit to both the man and F1.

In my view as good as Alonso is and has been this season had it not been for the dreadful (by a top F1 teams standards) performance in 2012 Hamilton would be leading and almost certainly be champion this year - McLaren have let him down badly.

294

May I introduce you to Wayne? I think you will get on well together.

295

He will get along with me too Peter C- Because I agree 100% with what he said. Lewis has been a class act of 2012-& his speed at Abu Dhabi was epic-he's driven faultlessly all year- he would easily be winning if not won the title by now were it not for failures of the team & car

296

Raikkonen had a great start and drove a solid race. But for me, Vettel had the better overall drive, despite his mistakes, coming from the back twice. So Vettel as driver of the day.

297

Hi James — what’s your view of the worst drives of the day?

My candidates:

(a) Mark Webber — blew the start; rolled over for Fernando Alonso in the opening laps: held back his teammate for a couple of laps needlessly; lost positions by attempting a clumsy manouvre on Maldonando; and not anticipating the dog fight ahead and exposed himself to being taken out. End result — He failed to take points off Alonso or help Red Bull clinch the constructors.

(b) Jenson Button — fell asleep, and let (i) Alonso through on the first lap, and (ii) Vettel through at the end. His McLaren clearly had potential to be dominant in Abu Dhabi, and instead we saw from him a drive that utterly lacked ambition. On current form, Button and Perez do not inspire much confidence (or fear in rivals) even if McLaren has a winning car next year. End result — he failed to help Mclaren close in on Ferrari in the constructors championship.

(C) Romain Grosjean — had another opening lap incident; lacked spatial awareness while avoiding Perez (by swerving too far left without realizing Webber was there). End result: lost a sizeable chunk of points and cost his team another expensive repair job.

298

Oh please... the accident that Perez had was all of his own making, forcing Di Resta off track, then coming back on track without knowing where other drivers were and turning in on one - Mr Grosjean.

People are quick to blame Grosjean when he turns in on someone, then when someone does the same thing to him he's at fault for not jumping out of the way? What a load of rubbish.

I'm getting really sick and tired of the 'lets criticise every move Grosjean and Maldonardo make' campaign by certain F1 commentators.

The accident at the start of the race was clearly Di Restas fault for instance - poor spacial awareness driving across his team mate who then hit Senna as he was wedged in. That's not much different to what Grosjean got banned for in Spa. Yes the resulting accident was different - but the actual offence wasn't. What did Di Resta get for it? Nothing.

I'm not even a blooming Grosjean fan either - I do think the guy always gets a raw deal though, because people assume accidents are always his fault.

299

Webbo takes the cake. He started 2nd, Seb started from pitlane. By less than half-distance Seb had caught him despite having had to make a pitstop.

Not bad for a no.2?

300

IMHO that titls has to go to Mark Webber

301
Harrison Vrbanjac

It’s funny that Redbull’s car is always superior under Vettel’s hands. Webber’s self-confidence must been hurt this weekend, when his teammate starts from pitlane, then after 12 laps (?) once again starts last and still gets by him 20 laps or so before end of the race.

302

Hamilton - in his hands the mclaren looked a world beater, in jenson's not even good enough for a podium despite all the retirements. My god they're going to miss lewis!

303

No-one would have been saying that if Lewis had left last year...

304

I would have been the first to say it& I was probably the first to suggest he leave Mclaren- they are team lacking leadership ATM & they seem to support talk instead of performance.

305

Of course he did.. He once was my FB friend didn't ya know.. hehe .snap out of it Peter your on the "attack" don't be upset cause I agreed with someone else.

306

Wow, I didn't know he left because of you.......simply......wow.

307

But he didn't did he....

308

For me its Alonso. Made a few key overtakes at the start brilliantly passing Button then held position pretty much from then - closing into Raikkonen at the end but not close enough.

Raikonnen similarly had a great start and drove well - love his comments on the radio!

Vettle - he maximised the luck given to him - you have to give him that. But for me showed that he is not as good at racing the backmarkers as others are - several times recently you have seen Alonso, Button, Raikkonen, Hamilton race wheel to wheel and not touch - racing how it should be done but the gulf in class was there for all to see when he damaged his front wing not once but twice!

Ultimately would not have finished so high up if it wasn't for the second safety car and Hamilton, Webber, Grosjean, Rosberg, Perez and maybe others that I havent mentioned all suffering their respective difficulties.

But there you go he made the most of the luck laid in front of him, but for me that does not make Driver of the Day.

And before we get into comparisons with Alonso/Hamilton esp the latter at Barcelona this year, they did not completely change the setup of their cars before the race.

309

Buddy. The safety first safety car lost him positions sit next time in front of the live timing app and you'll get more insight. He was 12th and went back to last due to the pitstop behind the safety car. his gap to the front after the restart went up from 12-15 seconds(if he dint have to pit) to 23 seconds because he was last again. By the time he had his second and final pitstop(lap37) he was already ahead of the cars that crashed i.e webber, grosjean etc. Rosberg wouldnt have made any bearing to him or anyone else cause he dint have the pace. the only advantage he got is on button and he beat the rest of the field upto button on pace alone and not due to the safety car. The safety car helped him only with button. For that matter. Alonso and Kimi were lucky too dont you think??? If hamilton dint retire or if Pastor's kers dint fail.

And to answer your second part. Every driver would rather start in the front of the grid rather than start from the pit. Changing the setup of the car doent made it any more faster infact his setup changes made his slower overall over the course of a lap but gave him better top speed to overtake the field while his Drs was deployed. This compromise would would only help him overcome the back markers like Alonso whos setup in India was not idea for setting the fastest time for qualification or over the course of a single lap but more for over taking when he got the opportunity.

310

Pal, perhaps if you sit in front of a TV next time too as well as the Live Timing App then you will get some more insight as well - particularly that it was Vettel's fault that he was dead last after the first safety car.

The point being BOTH safety cars bunched up the field much more than would have been normal. So what Vettle had to overtake the Caterhams/remaining HRT - Torro Rosso's couldn't move over quick enough and the Webber was told to get out of his way effectively too.

Sure he would have overtaken the likes of Rosberg but the point being he probably wouldn't have been able to do this immediately after catching him would have taken half lap or more maybe even thou he changed his gearing to give him superior speed at the end of the crucial overtaking zones.

The second safety car too was amazing for him as it basically meant that the 20 sec or so gap to Button evaporated and he was bound to overtake, as he did, because of the fresher tyres.

He made the most of the oppertunities presented to him sure, but when you get away with mistakes like hitting cars when overtaking which he would have been penalised for in the pits as it takes more than 2.8 secs to change a front wing then to me that is luck.

Maybe sit in front of a TV next time too so you can see the action and not just the times!

Anyway judging by your replies to everyone else saying he was pretty lucky you are just another deluded Vettel fan and fail to realise how much the car is dependant of results in F1.

311

Look i dint mean to offend you. So if I did i am truly sorry. I always watch the race on TV and follow it up with the live timing too. The TV footage is at the discretion of the producer while the live timing give a better view of what is actually happening lap by lap and gives you more information than what can be beamed at one time on TV. Drivers make their own luck. Alonso was offered a RedBull seat he turned it down. IF he had accepted and won last 3 years no one would have said anything about Alonso winning because he had a fast car. Its not Vettels fault he is in a fast car. What is up to him is to maximize his opportunity and remain consistant with his results. Check out the F1 records his name is there in most categories. And he has maybe another 10 years of racing atleast to go. And will surely end up driving either Ferrari, Mercedes or Mclaren if he decides to leave Redbull.

I do have very high regards for All three of them Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. But more respect for Hamilton and Vettel because Alonso is afraid of a strong Team mate and neither Vettel or Hamilton care who their team mates are .

Its common knowledge Alonso vetoed Hamilton's move to Ferrari this year. All the love and respect Hamilton has found for him suddenly has more to do with Hamilton's Gamble at Mercedes. I am sure if it doesn't work, he would rather head to Ferrari than go back to Mclaren. I am pretty sure given to choose between Hamilton and Vettel, Alonso would rather choose someone he knows is about equal in race skills with him than risk being teamed with someone who might out shine him. That is another reason why Ferrari were so interested in signing Webber for next year.

They would definitely want driver like Vettel in the future. Someone who is fast and consistant to get the job done. Either when Alonso is ready to retire or earlier if they feel he is better than Alonso(remember they dumped kimi at the drop of a hat even paid him not to race because they felt Alonso had more to offer). The only way they can judge his performance would have been by comparing Webbers performance next year in a Ferrari to Alonso's. Unfortunately that is not happening so there is no direct way to compare how Vettel compares to Alonso or Hamilton(Hamilton and Alonso were evenly matched in Mclaren) That said next year Hamilton will be team mates with Rosberg who was Webber teammate in 2006 and Webber and Rosberg were even matched race skill wise with Webber having a slight upper hand. So we might get an indirect insight or comparison on how Hamilton/Rosberg fare in 2013 to get a rough idea on where Vettel would stand if his team mate were Hamilton or Alonso. Who knows Cheers

312

a true voice of reason! well done Aaron.

313

LdM must have broken the TV all over again.

314

So true, now he has two thing to be fixed /replaced: TV and wind tunnel.

315

Has to be Seb,..started in the pit lane,...overtook half the field and then went to the back again to change his nose, then passed most of the field again to finnish 3rd

316

"Who was your Driver of the Day?" There must be a slight mistake somewhere or perhaps it was meant a little differently? Shouldn't there be 24 options, not 3?

Luckily, there was an option to vote for Raikkonen, so I used it. Not because I would think he sweat more than the others or it was only him, not somebody else who extracted the most of their given package. At best, only god knows that.

But he was in a full racing mood. He is a frank guy that needs no babysitting, it was pure joy to hear his radio conversations and no rubbish talking on the podium.

What could be better for Formula one than a victory for The guy that openly admits:

"I’m only here for racing. All the other bullsh#t I can do without. If you took away the cars from F1, I would not be there.”

317

I'm a little surprised to see so many votes for Vettel. He rightly deserves to be considered, but not only were Kimi and Alonso equally fast, they also had near perfect races, Seb was bumping cars, crashing into the scenery and overtaking outside the track (although he later corrected that.)

Vettel overtook many cars, but with 15 laps to go, he had fresh soft tyres, three slower cars bunched up in front of him and an "overtaking spec" Red Bull. He only managed to pass one of those cars...

318

Overtaking spec means higher top speed for DRS, less downforce. The car was actually slower over the course of a lap in terms of pace, but optimized for DRS blasts. Watch the timing and you'll see what I mean.

319

I may be wrong, but I get the idea some think "overtaking spec" means a faster car and therefore, faster lap times. silly, silly boys. factually and conceptually incongruent to anybody who has actually raced, or read a book on chassis design or one on race driving, or even a fan who has more interest than sitting in front of the tube with a beer...

some folks here need to get their facts right. "fresh soft tyres" flies in the face of actuality...

320

Kimi gets my vote.

Seb was lucky with the Safety Car closing the field - still reckon he'd have been 4th or 5th but not a podium finisher.

Alonso was mighty - another two laps and he might have taken Kimi.

But Kimi had a great start and for his radio comments alone ("yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what I'm doing") gets the plaudits from me.

321

How was Alonso mighty he actually underperformed.

322

First of all, a fantastic race and fantastic result for Kimi and his team (Lotus/Renault etc). He really is a great driver and F1 would be poorer without him. +1 also for his radio comments.

However, what sacrifices did VET offer to the Gods of F1 during the summer break? Since then his streak of luck seems to have no end. And don't get me wrong. I think he is a great driver. But everything seems to be working for him now...

1. The team's mistake with the fuel in quali allowed them to change the setup of the car and so actually turned that into an advantage over the rest of the field.

2. Seb's own mistakes not