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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?

    1. Sam says:

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

      1. HFEVO2 says:

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

      2. Dmitry says:

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

      3. Glennb says:

        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.

      4. Mojo says:

        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.

      5. Steve says:

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

      6. GideanYates says:

        @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.

    2. JB says:

      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.

    3. Ahmed says:

      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.

      1. Wayne says:

        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.

      2. Michael says:

        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.

      3. Sebee says:

        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….

      4. James Allen says:

        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…

      5. Sebee says:

        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?

      6. Wayne says:

        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.

      7. Sebee says:

        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.

      8. James Allen says:

        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.

      9. Sebee says:

        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.

      10. Peter says:

        How do you know?

      11. Chris says:

        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.

      12. Joel says:

        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.

    4. Mike from Colombia says:

      Here here

    5. Landon says:

      You can’t possibly be serious.

    6. Anton says:

      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.

    7. Dufus says:

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

    8. James Clayton says:

      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.

    9. Andrew J says:

      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.

    10. Wayne says:

      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?

      1. Cedricbaum says:

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

      2. Martin says:

        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

      3. James Allen says:

        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.

      4. Wayne says:

        Martin, thanks for this – answers my question perfectly.

      5. Peter C says:

        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.

    11. madmax says:

      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.

    12. James Encore says:

      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 …

    13. Luke DLP says:

      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!

    14. All revved-up says:

      I’m puzzled too. Why not Hamilton?

  2. Glennb says:

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

    1. Nuno says:

      We’re they all overtakes? I guess they were

    2. Anand Murthy says:

      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 ;)

      1. Alberto says:

        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.

      2. Tay says:

        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.

      3. RFG says:

        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!

      4. Alberto says:

        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.

    3. Craig says:

      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.

      1. Wayne says:

        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.

      2. Sebee says:

        Ouch!

        Hamilton suffering brings out the bitter in you.

      3. Aaron Noronha says:

        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.

      4. Tay says:

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

      5. Magnus says:

        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.

      6. Alberto says:

        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.

      7. Allan says:

        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.

      8. Alberto says:

        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

      9. James Allen says:

        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

      10. rich gibbs says:

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

      11. Jordan says:

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

    4. Morales says:

      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!

    5. Gaspar says:

      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 .

      1. Aaron Noronha says:

        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.

      2. rich gibbs says:

        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.

      3. Veena says:

        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.

      4. James Allen says:

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

      5. Joel says:

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

      6. Aaron Noronha says:

        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.

      7. Luca says:

        +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.

      8. timW says:

        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.

      9. James Allen says:

        Exactly. It only works with a super fast car though

      10. danny says:

        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.

      11. quest says:

        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.

    6. AlexD says:

      He only overtook button…

      1. **Paul** says:

        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.

        ?

      2. JR says:

        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.

      3. **Paul** says:

        Oops – my error Fernado overtook Webber as well didn’t he.

      4. Sebee says:

        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.

      5. Hung says:

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

      6. HansB says:

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

      7. Sebee says:

        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.

      8. Joel says:

        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.

      9. MelB says:

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

      10. colin grayson says:

        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

      11. James Allen says:

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

      12. quest says:

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

      13. OscarF1 says:

        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)

    7. Sebastian says:

      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”…

    8. Tank says:

      Sadly the readership is extremely biased against Vettel.

      1. Wayne says:

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

      2. Steve says:

        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.

      3. Jordan says:

        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]

      4. Glennb says:

        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.

      5. rich gibbs says:

        thank you!

      6. Joel says:

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

      7. Niner says:

        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?

      8. Jordan says:

        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.

      9. Jordan says:

        Some ppl call it the tall poppy syndrome

      10. Robin says:

        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

  3. Tyler says:

    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.

    1. Tim says:

      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.”

      1. Tim says:

        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

      2. @stevenst says:

        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

      3. Tim says:

        To: @stevenst -

        Your sentiments are received in the spirit they are given.

        Cheers,
        Tim

      4. Simmo says:

        There are three Tims!

    2. Marcus in Canada says:

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

    3. Kb says:

      Tyler – he said almost hit!

      1. Tyler says:

        @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.

    4. James Allen says:

      Thanks, changed that

  4. Thisisanirban says:

    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.

    1. Tony says:

      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.

    2. JR says:

      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.

      1. Thisisanirban says:

        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 ;)

    3. Oli says:

      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

      1. Horno says:

        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!

    4. Isaac says:

      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.

  5. rad_g says:

    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!

    1. Miha Bevc says:

      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.

      1. rich gibbs says:

        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.

      2. James Allen says:

        That’s the idea.

    2. Horno says:

      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.

  6. kp says:

    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!

    1. PDiddly says:

      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 ?

      1. Peter C says:

        +1 !!

    2. Sascha says:

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

    3. Remco de Waal says:

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

      1. Peter C says:

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

  7. DonSimón says:

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

  8. AndyFov says:

    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.

    1. MISTER says:

      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.

      1. He do says:

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

      2. James Allen says:

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

      3. MISTER says:

        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?

      4. Peter C says:

        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.

      5. rich gibbs says:

        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!

      6. thejudge13 says:

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

      7. Landon says:

        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!

      8. Joel says:

        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.

      9. Robert N says:

        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 …

      10. James Allen says:

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

      11. Aaron Noronha says:

        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

      12. James Allen says:

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

      13. Vinto says:

        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

      14. Magnus says:

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

      15. iGOR BdA says:

        What are you talking about????

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

      16. MISTER says:

        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.

      17. Elie says:

        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 .

      18. Elie says:

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

      19. [MISTER] says:

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

  9. Snowy says:

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

    1. Andy says:

      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.

    2. Joel says:

      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?

  10. BW says:

    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)

    1. JR says:

      A fine balanced assessment.

    2. rudyBB says:

      Completely agree. +1
      A good point of view.

  11. Tara_185 says:

    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.

    1. MISTER says:

      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.

      1. Doug says:

        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!

      2. Aaron Noronha says:

        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

    2. Bjornar Simonsen says:

      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.

    3. zx6dude says:

      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.

  12. Marcelo Leal says:

    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.

    1. yugin says:

      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.

    2. Haydn Lowe says:

      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.

      1. Scott D says:

        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.

    3. JR says:

      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.

  13. Ralf F says:

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

  14. Steven says:

    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.

    1. James Allen says:

      That is so laughable I don’t know where to start…

      So I won’t bother.

    2. Steve says:

      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.”

  15. r0ssj says:

    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.

    1. Gemma H says:

      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!)

  16. Andrew M says:

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

    1. Andrew M says:

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

    1. Horoldo says:

      That’s very cool.

    2. [MISTER] says:

      WOW! I want that asap!!!

  17. iiro says:

    All equal in my eyes!

  18. Sam says:

    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!

    1. MISTER says:

      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.

      1. Rockie says:

        Have considered how many people overtook Webber in that race.

  19. kevin n says:

    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.)

  20. Nil says:

    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. :D

    1. MISTER says:

      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.

      1. HansB says:

        +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.

      2. rudyBB says:

        +1000

    2. Mohomed says:

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

    3. JR says:

      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?

      1. AJ says:

        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)

    4. Andrew M says:

      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.

      1. 69bhp says:

        Alonso didn’t start from the pit lane in Valencia

      2. rudyBB says:

        Alonso did not change the car setup.

    5. Steve says:

      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/

    6. Nil says:

      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.

  21. Ed says:

    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.

  22. Marcelo Leal says:

    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.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Looks like Fernando is quite popular in Brazil, LOL.

    2. Doug says:

      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.

      1. James Allen says:

        Or better still, read JA on F1!

      2. Rach says:

        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.

      3. Marcelo Leal says:

        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.

  23. Eric says:

    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.

    1. Mikeall says:

      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!

      1. zx6dude says:

        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.

      2. Magnus says:

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

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

    2. Oly says:

      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 ?

      1. Rach says:

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

      2. Chris says:

        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?

  24. Sri says:

    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.

  25. Andrew says:

    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.

    1. Andrew says:

      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.

  26. Bjornar Simonsen says:

    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.

    1. Gordon Q says:

      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.

  27. goober says:

    Driver of the day: Sebastian
    Unluckiest of the day: Lewis
    Favorite of the day: Kimi
    Screwed over of the day: Mark

    1. James Clayton says:

      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!

      1. Andrew M says:

        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.

      2. Bradley says:

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

    2. Goober says:

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

      1. Rach says:

        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.

      2. goober says:

        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.

      3. Rach says:

        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.

  28. sumedh says:

    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.

  29. The Real Moaner says:

    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.

  30. JB says:

    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.

    1. Ncedi says:

      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…

      1. Aaron Noronha says:

        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

    2. Andrew M says:

      DRS…

    3. Alberto says:

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

  31. Craig Baker says:

    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.

  32. JB says:

    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

  33. vettelfan says:

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

  34. thejudge13 says:

    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.

    1. AndyFov says:

      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.

    2. 69bhp says:

      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.

      1. thejudge13 says:

        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.

      2. 69bhp says:

        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.

    3. Rob Newman says:

      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.

      1. thejudge13 says:

        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

  35. Gordon Q says:

    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.

  36. Chromatic says:

    - RAIkkonen : Faultless. Faster Alonso gave it everything but couldn’t get near him.
    He Knew what he was doing.
    Driver of The Day.

  37. Irish con says:

    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.

    1. Andrew M says:

      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).

  38. ayrton1 says:

    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.

  39. Rich C says:

    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.

  40. CH says:

    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

  41. Ahmed says:

    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…

    1. colin grayson says:

      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

    2. Naz says:

      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

  42. Spinodontosaurus says:

    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.

  43. eightEnder says:

    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.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

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

    2. quest says:

      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.

  44. vvipkho says:

    Vettel from P24 jump to P3..

  45. Saidy says:

    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.

  46. Geenimetsuri says:

    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).

    1. BW says:

      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..

      1. Geenimetsuri says:

        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.

  47. Vettel says:

    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.

    1. Andrew M says:

      Maybe you shouldn’t have broken your front wing or messed up behind the safety car again :)

    2. Ahmed says:

      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….

  48. Ski says:

    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.

    1. MISTER says:

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

    2. Sebee says:

      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!

      1. James Allen says:

        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

      2. quest says:

        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.

  49. Sean says:

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

  50. Nadeem says:

    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

  51. Brenda says:

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

  52. Kushal says:

    @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

  53. CanadaF1fan says:

    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?

  54. Elie says:

    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.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      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.

  55. schick says:

    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.

  56. ferggsa says:

    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

  57. Jo Torrent says:

    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.

    1. MISTER says:

      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.

      1. j says:

        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.

      2. MISTER says:

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

  58. JohnnyBenerba says:

    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!

  59. Cedgy says:

    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!

  60. John says:

    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.

  61. dave mingay says:

    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.

  62. JOdum5 says:

    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.

  63. B Grylls says:

    Kimi, no doubt

  64. Connie says:

    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

  65. Fahim says:

    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.

  66. Owen says:

    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.

  67. Chapor says:

    Somehow Bruno Senna got overlooked here…

    1. Eleanore says:

      +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.

    2. Darren S says:

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

      1. Chapor says:

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

  68. Msta says:

    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.

  69. F1-Insider says:

    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.

    1. Peter C says:

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

      1. Elie says:

        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

  70. Rachel says:

    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.

  71. Timo says:

    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.

    1. KenN0898 says:

      IMHO that titls has to go to Mark Webber

    2. 69bhp says:

      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?

    3. **Paul** says:

      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.

  72. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

    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.

  73. Tom kayes says:

    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!

    1. Andrew J says:

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

      1. Tom kayes says:

        But he didn’t did he….

      2. Elie says:

        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.

      3. Peter C says:

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

      4. Elie says:

        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.

  74. Chris says:

    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.

    1. Aaron Noronha says:

      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.

      1. rich gibbs says:

        a true voice of reason! well done Aaron.

      2. Chris says:

        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.

      3. Aaron Noronha says:

        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

  75. Mike84 says:

    LdM must have broken the TV all over again.

    1. JR says:

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

  76. KenN0898 says:

    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

  77. Bob says:

    “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.”

  78. Guillermo says:

    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…

    1. rich gibbs says:

      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…

    2. Landon says:

      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.

  79. Andrew J says:

    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.

    1. Rockie says:

      How was Alonso mighty he actually underperformed.

  80. Panayiotis says:

    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 only did not end his race but were negated by the 2 safety cars.

    3. The only real challenge he faced was having to pass Button, as he himself said. The performance advantage over the rest of the field, the erratic driving of the midfielders who kept taking each other out, and 2 RB teams issue, WEB taking out MASSA, and above all the 2 safety cars, all made his job seem like having to cut through butter with a COLD (I’m not saying hot because he did have to work a bit) knife.

    And then you have ALO, banging those fastest laps one after the other in arguably the 4th fastest car of the weekend, only to see the gap to VET close by 3 points….

    1. Rockie says:

      Alonso’s poor qualifying form makes his race looks like hes doing exceptional he waits for other peoples mistake to win as he should have attacked Kimi earlier.
      Cant but think is Hamilton or Vettel are at Ferrari they would be qualifying higher thus winning the race had Vettel starteed #rd would have won the race easily.

      1. Panayiotis says:

        Alonso is a poor qualifier? In that car? So you want to say that during the last races if ALO and VET had switched cars VET would qualify higher in the Ferrari and beat ALO in the RB?

      2. Rockie says:

        Am sure by now you have James’new article and you see he thinks in the same way

      3. yugin says:

        Alonso set equal times(to the tenth) in all three sections of qualifying. I don’t see how that’s poor form. Plus his final qualifying position was similar to where he finished in FP3 I believe.

      4. Txema says:

        Massa is a specialist in qualifying and I think that he beats Alonso only once in all season. I dont see why Alonso did a poor qualifying and Vettel a good one when Webber was faster than Vettel (although Vettel had less fuel).

      5. Rockie says:

        But with the new updates he was just a tenth infront of Massa and Massa was on a flyer before he was told to abandon it. and on his 1st flyer it wasnt an error free lap as well.

    2. Aaron Noronha says:

      Its funny how many [mod] people are there out there who comment without actually watching or observing either the race or the facts.
      1) If he could change the setup to be an advantage why wouldn’t he start with the same setup during qualification??? Its not that the setup he choose was outlawed for qualification. It was a compromise which enabled him to have a better straight line speed to overtake but it also preventing from extracting the best lap times over the course of the race and even with the compromise he was the quick.
      2) The first safety car negated his advantage because of his mistake so his 12 th position and roughly a gap of around 12 seconds to the leaders after the restart went up to a gap of 23 seconds and he was in the last position again.
      3) By the time he had made his final pitstop(lap 37) he was already ahead of the train of cars that crashed behind him(ie he was already in 4th having overtaken everyone upto button either on the track or due to his faster laps times before his second stop. So the only advantage he got was on button whom he might have caught anyway without the safety car because of his later stop and having the faster options tyres made him about 1 to 1 1/2 second faster than button. Although we cant be sure he would have overtaken him without the saftey car he would definitely catch button.

      In the same way Hamiltons failure benefited everyone and pastor’s kers failure benefited Alonso and Button. So werent they lucky too???

      1. rich gibbs says:

        no matter how well u reason and how well u articulate, some simply watched another event on a parallel universe :)

      2. Panayiotis says:

        What do you mean people comment without watching the race? How do you know if I watched the race (which I did btw)?

        Anyway, here’s your answer.

        1. RBR changed the setting of VET’s car overnight. This is the reason they took the car of parc ferme condition and this is a well known fact.

        2. His mistake negated his advantage and not the safety car. This actually helped him since he might have rejoined at the back but he was behind MUCH slower cars + all time gaps were eliminated.

        3. The fact that he was in that position when he made his final pit stop was due to having run all race on fresh soft rubber. Especially the timing of the 2nd safety car helped him so much. So if it had not been for the safety cars and he had run a processional racing and pit stops, not only the time gaps would not be eliminated but also he would run the race on older tyres (in general speaking).

        In any case, he drove a fantastic race. No argument about that. But he was helped by luck and found no real opposition on the way until he reached Button.

        As far as Hamilton’s failure and who was benefited… Well remember who benefited from Hamilton’s previous failure?

      3. Aaron Noronha says:

        1) You are allowed to change the setup if you start from the pitlane its in the rule book. So if it is a sure way to the podium why don’t all the cars do the same thing??? And as i mentioned the setup change they made dint make the car faster over the lap it made it slightly slower over the course of the lap but gave them an advantage to have a better top speed and gearing in order to exploit the DRS zone. All teams go into the qualification with the best setup. Any setup after that is always a compromise. Use your common sense and logic why would anyone qualify in anything but the best setup for the race????

        2)If his mistake negated his advantage then you just agreed with me that he dint gain from the first safety car in fact he lost out. Yes he was behind much slower cars but they dont magically disappear they are fighting for position except for the sister team of TR all other cars fought for their positions. Even his team mate Webber cost him 2 seconds.

        3) Any of the teams could have put their drivers on supersoft types during the first safety car, they dint because they felt it was not the best thing to do. All the teams have a whole bunch of engineers and technician/experts with simulators both on and off track giving the the teams the right strategy even when there is a safety car. Vettel was forced to change to supersoft because of his mistake and though i am not sure of the condition of his first set of tyres. I know for sure his second set was used supersoft. He only made his strategy work by doing what he is best at putting laptimes and overtaking(thought we dont see much of the latter because he leads from the front most of the time)His laptimes were sufficient for him to gain an advantage big enough for him to pit from second and still come out in fourth before the safety car was deployed so he had beaten the rest of the field on the track. He dint cause the safety car and it only helped him gain on button. Besides if Redbulls were so fast Webber should have won the Grand Pix he started from 2nd dint he???. It was a combination of speed and strategy and execution. He delivered when he had to and got the job done to limit the damage to his championship lead.

        3)Yes and who benefited from Vettels failure in Valencia??? Over the course of the season normally these things even out and sometimes they dont. Racing is not just about the driver its about the driver team combination too. Kimi would have beaten Alonso in 2004 if it werent for his car giving reliability issues. So technical failures are part of the package. Its how much each driver extracts from his car and how much the team and limit the damages over the course of the season. I do watch the live timing along with the race telecast so i know that Ferrari might not have a qualification car but in race trim they are alway amongst the fastest car on the circuit. Alonso is very consistant and if he wins the world championship he truly deserves it. That doesnt take anything from the fact that when he needs to Vettel does step up. I will not compare the two because they are in different teams. But the Aura of Alonso is definitely helped by the fact that after his accident Massa hasnt been a shadow of his former self. My heart does go out to Hamilton because I think this year Mclaren has been the best over all package but he hasnt been able to mount an offensive for no fault of his and i am afraid he might not get a fast car untill 2014 to fight for the championship. Just so you know. I think Hamilton should have headed to Ferrari rather than Mercedes but Alonso Vetoed it.

  81. aveli says:

    Fantastic race, spectacular crashes, dramatic car failure, a great drive from the back and colourful podium interviews. It had a great start, a fantastic middle and a brilliant ending with the chase down resulting in 3 champions on the podium.
    I think vettel deserves the title of dod. he didn’t panic with all that was thrown at him and made it to the end with a strong drive.
    Hamilton demonstrated why he is the best f1 driver since the begining of the sport but couldn’t make it to the flag.

  82. mohamed south africa says:

    happy birthday to james allen. hope you have a lovely day

      1. Rich in Norway says:

        Gratulerer med dagen James!

    1. Panayiotis says:

      Happy Birthday!

      1. Rockie says:

        Happy Birthday James and thanks for all the wonderful articles and information on F1

  83. Rayz says:

    ÌCEMAN……. purely for the in car radio!!! :)

    Hilarious. What a hero.

  84. Jane Kay says:

    It must be Vettel. Great drive despite some mistakes, starting twice from the back, drove with a broken front wing. Did about 40 overtakes, and yes some were of course slower cars, but still. SC helped Seb, but come on, it was not only for him, SC is for everybody, so don’t you say that it helped only Vettel. Alonso could have reached Kimi when the second SC was released. But he didn’t. Vettel wins from the front – you say it’s boring, pure luck, the best car, etc. He get a great result from the back – you say he was lucky. So tell me how he must prove himself in your opinion?

    Great to see Kimi on the podium – his drive was great. I’m a Kimi fan and was crossing my fingers for the entire race.

  85. Wiz says:

    Was really happy to see Kimi win this one, but how could it be anyone but Vettel this week?Never failed to be amazed by the sour grapes on the comments on this site. Doesnt matter what he does, some commenters on here will never give Vettel the credit he is due. If Hamilton or Button had done the same drive they would be dotd by a mile. When will they realise that its a dotd poll not popularity! About time you all accepted Vettel as what he is, as hes going to be around beating the likes of Hamilton and Alonso for a long time!

    1. Jane Kay says:

      totally agree!

  86. Alex says:

    I voted Raikkonen because he did everything right in a car that by no means had the edge on the field. Alonso was pretty electric though and did drive an amazing race it must be said but I’ve gotta give a bit of kudos to Pastor Maldonado for finally nailing a clean race and proving he is indeed the number one driver at Williams. If he had’ve managed to finish a few more races like Australia where he’d been in similar positions this year he might’ve been in the vacated Hamilton seat instead of Perez.

    In the case of Vettel, great drive, but not quite the 2008 Brazil drive by Hamilton or the 2005 Suzuka drive by Kimi. He had a lot of luck and a huge competitive advantage. Not detracting from the guy, though he did a great job and proved how much better he really is than Webber, I thought-who ruined his race before his team did by pitting him so he’d be out of Vettel’s way and then didn’t learn from his overtaking mistakes to end up with a DNF when he could’ve had 2nd.

    1. Magos says:

      lol! Brazil 08′ Vettel overtook Hamilton in a Toro!

    2. AENG says:

      Hamilton’s drive in Brazil 08 can’t be the sample one, but Kimi In Suzuka 05 was an astonishing thriller, but one has to admit that MP20-4 was I think the quickest bolide of any time in F1 history with extreme advantage.
      And again I would distinguish MS’s Brazil 06, it was a crown of super drive.

  87. Josh says:

    I don’t like Vettel but it was clearly a fantastic drive. Also to anyone out there it is Mclaren not maclaren or mcclaren.

  88. Dan Mawby says:

    Surely 5 drivers were mathematically in with a chance before the race – if Hamilton had won all 3 remaining races and Vettel not scored a point – Hamilton would have won on count back I believe

  89. zx6dude says:

    I’m surprised that the DOTD list is so short.
    I voted SV even though I don’t like him and he was lucky, but he also made his own luck, even if he was scrappy at times. From the pit lane on a modified (undriven) car to the podium? Amazing. Specially when you compare his performance with his team mate.

  90. Sascha says:

    Why is Hamilton not on the vote?
    suddenly only 3 opitions?
    I don’t vote the voting is flawed!

    Hamilton was untouchable until the car broke, no Vettel , Alonso, or Kimi would have come close.

    Dissappointing you left Hamilton out!!!!!!!!!!

  91. SpaFan says:

    yes yes yes!

  92. azac21 says:

    It can only be Fernando the Great again…

    1. krischar says:

      +1

      Yes None other than the maestro Fernando alonso

  93. Haydn Lowe says:

    Has to be Kimi. Unfortunately he managed to win at the one race when 2 other great champions put in stellar drives, but he did win, and he won in what can only be described as ‘kimi style’.
    What a bloody brilliant race!

  94. Tim says:

    DOTD: Vettel
    Honorable mention: Raikkonen
    Footnote: I’ve no favorite driver, but Hamilton has driven as well this year as any since he’s been in F1. If he’s had any luck at all, invariably, its been bad.

    Tim

  95. Gul says:

    Driver of the day = Lewis! He was in a race of his own until Ron switched off the Button! ;)

  96. Bart says:

    From Pitlane to 3rd is quite an achievement. No doubt Seb drove brilliantly and perhaps should be the DOTD. But it’s also fair to say that he had such a great car advanage over the rest (except for Lewis) and also circumstances helped greately.

    The fact is, the Red Bull has now been the fastest for 5 races in a row. At no stage this year did Alonso have the fastest car and he’s only 10 point down which I find incredible.

    James, there seems to be a pattern – in the first half of 2010 and 2012 Mark was more than a match for Vettel but then at certain point in the second half Seb just sped up and drove away.
    Is it because Red Bull develop the car more to Seb’s liking (he seems to struggle a bit in not a perfect car) and Webber has a different driving style or because Seb raises his game and Mark simply has no answer? Or maybe a bit of both?

    Bart

    1. Andrew M says:

      I think Vettel is a little bit like Button, although not as extreme. When the car is perfect, he can extract more out of it than Webber can, and so as Red Bull has improved the car his natural ability has taken him to a plane that Webber just can’t reach on a consistent basis, in either the race or in qualifying.

      1. rich gibbs says:

        some simply have not had the real life experience to understand the near totality of input the driver has into making a good car nearly perfect for them every event. the top guns get the identical car set up nearly perfect much more often than their teammates, but even they sometimes screw up…

  97. yugin says:

    I know similar things have been posted by others but just to put it a different way…

    Before the race- Had his car set up to aid overtaking which eventually gave him the fourth fastest speed through the speed trap (at one point in the race anyway).

    Start of the race- Blitzed past the much slower cars at the back of the field with ease (naturally), and was arguably only able to keep pace with the front running cars as he had DRS on every lap and was also not slowed significantly by those he had to overtake.

    First SC- Made a mistake of his own accord and dropped to the back of the field.

    Middle of the race- Had fresh rubber (Options this time instead of Primes), not much of a challenge passing the cars ahead.

    Second SC- Closed the twenty second gap to Button, without which he might have not been able to catch Button at all.

    Factor in how cars like Rosberg, Massa and Webber didn’t provide much opposition, the small clash with Senna and “instinctively” passing Grosjean off the track, and I’d argue that Vettel doesn’t deserve DOtD.

    1. Darren says:

      He was already clear of Webber, Perez, Grosjean, Massa and co before the safety car came out. You are right the SC closed the gap to Button but I think he would have caught him anyway, might not have had time to pass him though.

      1. yugin says:

        What I meant was not that the SC helped Vettel pass Webber, Perez and co but rather that they did not provide much opposition on track- by crashing out, spinning etc.

      2. Darren says:

        Yeah sorry I meant that he was already past them by the time they crashed.

  98. Jon Wilde says:

    Get Kimi in a Red Bull for 2013!

    Following a great race in Abu Dhabi (best ever?) this weekend. Can we please start a campaign to get Kimi driving for Red Bull in 2013!

    Yes he has a contract with Lotus, but given the engine supplier is the same and there are some common sponsors, surely a deal could be struck.

    2013 on the face of it looks likely to be a year of RBR vs. Ferrari. Mercedes will be bedding in Lewis and likely focus on 2014 early into the campaign. Mclaren similar focusing on upskilling Perez.

    With limited regulation changes, unless the new tyres throw up something unexpected, the dominant cars. (note cars, not drivers, i.e. not Mclaren) are likely to remain the same.

    On that basis, given the current form, the championship will likely fall toward Vettel and Alonso again. Webber and Massa have had many chances and simply don’t have the consistency. To make the 2013 championship a three way battle and to ensure more entertaining podium interviews! Why not bring Kimi over to Red Bull a year early?

    From a marketing perspective Kimi at RBR would create a lot of press attention, and his attitude to F1 and seemingly the world in general is somewhat akin to the target Red Bull drinking demographic. He would be unlikely to detract from a team geared toward Vettel, he seems happy to make the car he is given work for him, rather than creating a car for himself. Fans would see a great inter-team battle, and I’m convinced his attitude would broaden the appeal of F1 to a younger audience.

    Waiting until 2014 could be a mistake, no one knows how significant the regulation change will be, RBR’s aero understanding advantages could mean very little. Vettel on the back of 3 (likely) back to back titles needs a challenge. Kimi as his teammate would offer this, and could be challenge enough to keep him with the team beyond current agreements.

    How’s can we get Bernie to work his magic here and place Kimi in a car that will be great for F1!?

    1. 69bhp says:

      totally agree

    2. Oly says:

      As a more mature, experienced and at least equally fast driver in same machinery Kimi would demolish Vettel. Same as Alo would demolish Vettel if he comes to Ferrari.

      Would love to see that but it’s not going to happen.

      1. Rockie says:

        Alonso demolish Vettel in a redbull first would need to out-qualify Vettel as Vettel is good over a race distance.

    3. colin grayson says:

      can’t happen …he would be better than vettel and that isn’t allowed

    4. Andrew M says:

      I admire your optimism and would love to see Kimi vs Seb, but I don’t think it will happen next year. 2014 however…

  99. Tony says:

    Even as a devoted Ferrari fan, I’ve voted for Vettel this time. I just think it amazing that after everything that happened to him in this race he made it up to third.
    Of course he was very lucky with the safety cars and DRS does make overtaking a bit too easy, but it was still a remarkable drive.
    However, due to DRS I don’t think this recovery can be compared to other recoveries when DRS wasn’t available. DRS was introduced to make the overtaking of slower cars easy, so recovering from the back of a grid full of slower cars can’t be compared to recovering from the back of a grid of racers who are all allowed to defend their positions.
    Even more staggering though is that he caught up to and passed his team mate who was driving the same car!

  100. James Encore says:

    Those who think Vettel is hard done by in DotD might have a point.

    OK. He did hit Senna. He was caught napping behind Riccardo and hit the DRS sign. And the Safety car timings helped him. But last place after one of his pits stops to Podium ? Arguably the best race he’s ever driven.

    And what did Kimi do after the first corner exactly ? Drove a very measured, inteligent race, and made some of the best Radio calls ever. Brilliant to see him win. But drive of the day ? Come on.

    1. Elie says:

      He’s not in Ferrari, Redbull or a Mclaren did you get that bit. Or are you one of these people that think Lotus is the fastest car- if you are theres no helping you. He put 5.5 sec & 9.7 sec on Alonso before each safety car. Both Ferrari & Button had clear air to run but they could not catch him. Sure he was a beneficiary of a Mclaren breakdown but he showed everyone what a legend he is..& if he was in Redbull I think he would lap everyone

      1. Landon says:

        Money says if Vettel drove the same race as Raikkonen he’d have zero votes as driver of the day on this site. Blatant double standard.

      2. Chris says:

        Hehe, he drove from the back of the field to a podium, and still Ferrari fans moan!! Did you see how far behind he was after he had cleared the pit lane at the start? Anthony Davidson almost chocked when he realised how far it was.

      3. Elie says:

        Landon what you not “getting” is Sebastians driving a car that is about 1-1.5 seconds a lap faster than every car out there. The other thing that just took Seb out as driver of day for me was he overtook a car off the track (ok he gave it back) – He drove bloody quick but at the same time- he made 2 mistakes that drivers like Alonso, Raikkonen do not make. and Yes after the safety car he could see the leader. Not denying his mental toughness to stay in the game but he had many many things go right for him straight after a few things went wrong !

      4. James encore says:

        (a) The Lotus has been quick but not quickest. It was a good car for the circuit.
        (b) He was gifted the lead and didn’t throw it away and did enough to stay out of reach. He deserved his win. But (IMHO) that’s not what DotD is about.

        But it wasn’t “heroic” and he has driven better races this year without winning. I think his attitude after the race told you he probably thought that too.

      5. Elie says:

        Sure he drove better races I would say 5th at Spa was a perfect example. But that takes nothing away from his performance on Sunday & what people really under estimate is his effort to set fastest lap times after safety cars to gap Alonso- remember Alonso was in attack mode and he lost ground to Kimi. Neither Button nor Alonso made ground on him (& they both had “clear air”) and he put several seconds after each safety car between him-that is what earned him DOTD in my books. I would say the Lotus was equal to the Ferrari (3rd Fastest) in race pace. & Sure No driver likes being “handed” victory when the Mclaren broke down..All the more reason why Kimi was Right when he said..well “I’m not going to jump up & down” but then in all 19 Victories he has never jumped up & down that is just not the nature of the Iceman.He lets others like me do it for him..Actions speak louder than words !

      6. James Encore says:

        OK. After this http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20267305

        I’ll change my mind.

      7. Elie says:

        Thanks for sharing James E – that is Just Gold !

  101. Wombat says:

    I gave it to Kimi, he earned his win and great to see, but Alonso came close.
    Red Bull seemed to have Dorian Grey sort of day – everything went the way of one driver but the opposite happened to the other. No doubt Vettel drove exceptionally well, but it was amazing how things fell his way when it mattered. Given R-B geared his car for high speed, and it worked out so well, you have to wonder why have R-B been handicapping Webber almost all season with a car clearly short of top speed.

  102. Mark V says:

    Vettel was great. But Kimi was better (on the radio at least). He basically told his engineers to go f**k themselves when they tried to get him psyched up via the radio. Those idiots obviously don’t have a clue what motivates an introvert like Kimi nor what irritates one.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Chief Engineer got exited. Mark Slade (Kimi’s race engineer) warned him, that Kimi will not like it :) It was a tense moment!

  103. Andrew Carter says:

    I vote Kimi just ahead of Alonso because at no point did he really look like being passed for the lead. Vettel drove well for most of the race, but he had to have damaged that front wing first time round some how (camera’s missed that) and then his avoidance of Ricciardo and damaging the wing further was definitely his own fault.

  104. NotGood says:

    Vettel drove very well to finish where he did. But Driver of the Day? He did everything he could to make a right pigs ear of this race, and without the very lucky safety cars, and the timing of them, and the number of on track incidents, would have finished well down the order.

    Vettel has make many good passes this year, but I find it amusing that people think this race has proved he’s a good overtaker, when he did his best to throw any chance he had on the openig laps with rash driving.

    Compare Alonso passing Webber on lap 1 to Vettel passing Senna off track, the difference in composure and vision was significant.

    1. Chris says:

      Once Alonso passed an entire field by making a pitstop, then have his team mate chuck it in the barriers, which forced everyone else to pit, he then held on for a victory – o and he was in on it!! His actions at Mclaren proved it – win at any cost, even a 100 million dollar fine for his employers.

  105. Rishi says:

    Mark Webber!

    On a more serious note, this week’s was tricky between Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. I plumped for Kimi in the end, even though he effectively won the race with his start given Lewis Hamilton’s retirement. After that his radio transmissions were his most eventful contribution to the race! However, agree with those who say Sebastian drove extremely well but also had a bit of fortune with SC timing and he wasn’t faultless.

    Would also like to give honourable mentions to Pastor Maldonado (3rd to 5th, yes, but with a failed KERS after the first SC) and Kamui Kobayashi (15th to 6th, also with KERS issues – though not a full failure).

    The big interesting thing from this race was the failed overtakes! There were a lot of them – particularly at the end of the 2nd DRS zone – but most of them were deemed to be racing incidents. I wonder if it’s worth investigating whether there’s something in the layout of the track (or specifically, its corners) which makes overtaking moves quite difficult to pull off. My Dad had a theory (which I supported) that, even though the track is very wide on corner entry, there tended to be only one way round some corners like that one after the 2nd DRS zone (perhaps because of their right-angled-but-almost-obtuse nature) so people on the outside either tended to run out of room or make contact. Is there anything in that theory or was it simply end-of-season driver overexuberance?

  106. Slaven Niksic says:

    Vettel was good but most of all lucky. Note the mistakes he made after the start and during the first safety car period. Not the drive of a great champion

  107. Russ says:

    Interesting that there are so many Hamilton remarks. Raikonnen got my vote but Seb should not have been in the running. When he hit Senna he was lucky to keep his front wing then when he drove into the sign that was his fault too. I honestly thought he struggled without the blue flags. Button was the first front runner he had to overtake and despite being miles quicker he really struggled!

  108. Lee says:

    I was thinking of voting for Bernd Maylander, as without him the both world championships would be a lot more open still.

    That’s an unfair comment, as it’s not Bernd’s fault that he there were a couple of accidents, but the safety cars effectively reset the race twice which massively benefited Vettel.

    That benefit, coupled with the massive setup changes that made the car so much faster to allow relatively easy overtakes of back markers and midfield cars, do mean that I give Sebastian slightly less credit for what he achieved (especially as his race was made by the fact that he ended up having to pit due to damaging his front wing twice in the 1st quarter of the race).

    Vettel was very lucky.
    Could he have outqualified Hamilton – probably not.

    Could he have overtaken him with a car setup to be on pole (not the fastest in a straight line) – probably not (it took a few laps on Button with better tyres and a setup for straight line speed).

    Was he unlucky to get done for not having enough fuel – maybe.

    Was he lucky the team started him from the pitlane – yes – it made the race for him.

    Was he lucky with 2 safety cars – very.

    Was he lucky he didn’t damage another car at the same time as his (which would potentially have led to a penalty) – yes.

    Did he drive his socks off – yes he did!

    DOTD – I still want to give it to Hamilton – he was doing a Vettel – put it on pole and drive off into the distance. Unfortunately, driving a McLaren means you often break down when you do that……

    1. Rockie says:

      The irony you just shot yourself in thee foot after putting Vettel down for his drive you go on to say this about Hamilton.

      DOTD – I still want to give it to Hamilton – he was doing a Vettel – put it on pole and drive off into the distance. Unfortunately, driving a McLaren means you often break down when you do that……

      Guess this sounded right “typing it “doing a Vettel

      1. Lee says:

        Did you miss the point I was making?

        On a typical weekend, Red Bull setup for pole and Sebastian will more often than not put it there.

        He then nails the 1st couple of laps, gets out of the DRS zone where he would have been vulnerable with a lower straight line speed (as he’s setup for qualifying) and then he just “drives off into the distance”.

        That’s not luck – that’s Sebastian’s skill and having the best car on the grid.

        This weekend, he didn’t get pole and then got his car reconfigured for the different race he was going to be in starting from the pit lane – no one else got to reconfigure the car and I’m not sure anyone else benefited from the multiple safety cars nearly as much.

        “The real stroke of luck was the second safety car. Vettel was very fortunate that just as he came out on fresh soft tyres the safety car came out and cut Button’s lead over him from 15 secs with 17 laps to go to nothing. That set Vettel up for the podium.”

        That’s a quote from James by the way……

        Back to Hamilton. In previous seasons, it was commented that if Mark Webber didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have had any luck at all.

        I’ve got that feeling about Hamilton this year. He did everything right this weekend, right up until the point the car clapped out on him.

        You don’t have to agree that he was DOTD, but if you can tell me what didn’t do right whilst pulling out a lead from the start (after his well earned pole position) and then again from the restart in a car that wasn’t at it’s best on the soft tyres, I could always change my mind….

      2. Rockie says:

        So Alonso closing in on Kimi didn’t benefit from the SC I think there’s a lot of talk about Vettel being Lucky but had Alonso won would you have said same also this luck statement irks me as “LUCK” is when preparation meets opportunity. Why is all the talk about Vettel being lucky what about the others they should have used it as well.
        Also if its so beneficial others can take their cars from PARC ferme and re-configure the car and start from the pitlane.

  109. All revved-up says:

    My DOTD Is the one who entertained me not just with his F1racing skills but also made me laugh.

    Second place goes to SV with his F bomb on the podium.

    First place is “Mr yes yes yes . . . I know what I’m doing.”

  110. Trixie says:

    James is totally spot on nominating just the top 3 podium drivers for DOTD. They kept me on my feet the entire race. The rest were mediocre (but entertaining given how they drove each other off the track) despite what could’ve been, given their cars’ potential and grid positions.
    KIMI was definitely the Driver of the Day. He was faultless notwithstanding the Safety Car appearances that could’ve easily spoilt his day. He kept his cool, needed no “babying” from his team and took a well deserved, long awaited win! Plus he gave it to DC on the podium!

    1. James Allen says:

      Exactly – No-one could be considered to have done better than them, so why extend the list?

      1. Chromatic says:

        James, like to add if I may, being a newly subscribed Kimi fan [or something very close], that your writing here is always absolutely fair and unbiased regarding all the drivers.
        This is not always the case with some of the other popular F1 sites.
        On some sites Kimi fans see themselves like christians in the roman empire -a persecuted minority that will one day rule the world.

  111. alam says:

    Everyone is quick to point out had there been 3-4 more laps Alonso would have taken the win off Kimi,

    lets not forget he had to deal with two safety cars which diminished any time margin he had over Alonso and Vettel.

    1. Elie says:

      When Kim saw the finishing line he back it off a touch.if you noticed three to 4 laps before as soon as Fernando got to about1.4 a Kimi would open back out to 2. It’s possible but I doubt it- good one to ask Kimi , James.

  112. Darren says:

    I can’t believe that Vettel still didn’t win the poll. Although Kimi drove a good race, did well under pressure at the restarts (to be expected from the iceman) and took his win well his was not the drive of the day. Both Alonso and Vettel drove better races. Alonso I dont think could have got anything more out of the car. Although Vettel made a mistake with Ricciardo and was lucky with the safety cars he would still have had a very solid points finish. As much as I dislike Vettel anyone who comes from the pitlane to the podium deserves DOTD.

    1. manu says:

      Kimi won with a lotus………….healthy lead got taken away twice from him but he kept pushing.

      Had it been alonso, you guys will kept mumbling about him outperform the car bla bla bla

      1. Elie says:

        Exactly Manu !

    2. Kimi4WDC says:

      Serious? The late charge proved that during the race Alonso failed to be as consistent and fast as the car allowed for. Ferrari of course might have hoped for Lotus tyres to fade. But frankly Alonso got out raced by Kimi this time around despite getting a gift of safety car twice!

  113. Greg says:

    Seems Pastor’s race has been overlooked, he was doing really well until his KERS broke during the first safety car.

    He held them at bay and it looked like his tyres were shot, but he was trying so hard to break the tow out of the corners from the cars behind who had KERS at their disposal.

    I don’t think he would of caught Lewis if everything worked, but I do agree he may of got the win with Lewis out and had KERS working.

  114. Boulay says:

    Hamilton DotD for having the consideration to ask if the drivers involved in the crash (ros & kart) were ok whilst concentrating behind the safety car. The good side of the sport!

  115. Frank says:

    I am truly amazed how unlucky LH is how lucky SB is. Despite of accidents of his own making (end-plates) he still is able to finish 3rd.

  116. Alberto Martínez says:

    After rewatching the GP I had to lower my rating to Sebastian Vettel´s driving.

    Before the first Safety Car his only difficult overtaking was to Senna (I don´t include HRT, Marussia and Catherham as great overtakings)

    Before the second Safety Car the strategy played a big part and thanks to that and the advantage of his machinery he only had to two tough overtakings to Di Resta and Grosjean (Thanks to the strategy he hadn´t to overtake Maldonado, Perez, Kobayashi, Webber at track. Thanks to race incidentss he hadn´t to overtake Massa, Rosberg, Hulkenberg. What Toro Rosso did I prefer not to comment)

    After the second safety Vettel overtook Jenson Button with fresher and faster tyres, a better straight line speed and DRS after more than 6 laps trying it… Not impressed at all.

    All in all, despite a good race by Sebastian, in my opinion what the numbers say can lead to an distorted interpretation: A great and brave strategy aided by both safeties car and the opportunity of racing in free air were the key to get his podium.

  117. rich gibbs says:

    Congrats to Kimi! been a fan for years.

    Alonso again showed why he is the ultimate pit bull.

    Hami was untouchable.

    But IMHO, Seb turned in the monster drive of the season and gets the DOTD!!
    how many cars did he pass on a track notorious for lack of passing??

    I get it, he did wreck his wing – twice.
    he did get lucky with 2 safety cars.
    some others retired or had KERS issues.
    maybe the rules should not allow setup changes.
    maybe he does have the best car and team.

    but there is only 1 guy wheeling that car, and he got r done!

  118. iGOR BdA says:

    A German will never be driver of the day….

    1. Jon Wilde says:

      Moderator? is this kind of comment allowed?

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes, it’s not racist and is tongue in cheek – Mod

      2. j says:

        Thin skin or no sense of humor? Wild? More like Jon Milde.

  119. Illuminatus says:

    Not an RBR fan but my vote has gone to Vettel. I hope you Vettel fanboys realize that most Alonso fans (not saying Ferrari fans) really do appreciate good driving. Yes Vettel was assisted by multiple factors but IMO 24th to 3rd is a stonking drive. Disappointed that Fernando couldn’t cut Seb’s lead by more but I don’t begrudge Vettel for his drive.

  120. Great drives from 4 great drivers today, my vote went to Alonso. He single handedly put the 4th fastest car on the second step of the podium. I fully expected Hamilton to drive away like he did, I fully expected Vettel to come roaring through the pack and I have expected Kimi to do what he did all season. The only standout in my opinion is Alonso, he continually takes the 3rd or 4th fastest car and consistently gets podium results from it.

    1. Elie says:

      Absolute rubbish- last time it was the 2nd fastest- now it’s the 3rd or 4th fastest. If Fernando complains & says its the 10th fastest- then thats what you guys will say. Ferraris race pace is 2nd only to Red Bull that’s been proven for many races now. So comeon people snap out of it- Fernando drove great as usual but he does not get 100% every time. He got beat by a slower Lotus & the body language in the post race waiting room showed every sign of this.

      1. Shane says:

        Rubbish? Maybe that is a quaint colloquialism in your part of the world, but making such a statement regarding my opinion of the driver’s performance this weekend is, quite simply, rude.

        My counter to your grade school reply is:

        If we accept that qualifying is measure of a cars quickness, which I believe we all do, then the Ferrari was (at best) the 4th quickest car on the weekend behind McLaren, RBR, Williams and Mercedes.

        I agree that the Ferrari’s race pace is very good, but in my humble opinion, which you so eloquently referred to as rubbish, this race pace is due to the exemplary driving of Fernando Alonso. Alonso is able to put together a race full of laps like few others on the grid. This is how Fernando elevates the performance of the Ferrari on race day, by getting more out of his car more consistently than the other drivers who, as a result of their superior equipment, qualified ahead of him.

        He “got beat” by a slower Lotus? When was the Lotus slower? According to my recollection, Kimi Raikkonen out qualified Fernando Alonso by 3/10ths.

        While I am certainly no expert in interpreting body language, I would imagine any dejection exhibited by Fernando Alonso had more to do with Sebastian Vettel’s meteoric rise through the field to the final podium position.

      2. Elie says:

        Shane please spare us the English lesson mate in Australia we are not “quaint” we are direct & to the point and apologies if my direct nature hurt your feelings.

        “Single handedly” -how else ?? Last time I checked only one guy drives an F1 car. Now that’s very quaint.!

        Great driving was Raikkonen pumping fastest laps immediately after safety cars on cold tyres to gap Fernando who we saw was quicker on primes when he warmed them up.Kimi knew he was a sitting duck to that Ferrari and he did exceptional to get away from him. But here we are praising Alonso again in a team that has possibly three times budget and had twice the updates his team mate had. I can’t wait to see real cost control come into this sport- if it ever happens!
        Generally I agree with your points on Hamilton and Vettel even Alonso. Surely even Alonso detractors have come to accept his brilliant driving and are Loathed by his constant testimonials ( sorry for the big word) that he is driving great– we f/ing know –enough already & for goodness sake acknowledge the winners not just stand in the post race alone. The greatest sportsmen & people in general do not go on & on about it. & the greatest people also say “I made a small mistake” which usually is unnoticed even by a trained eye. But many simple minded people are like sheep and echo the same eloquent language disseminated on their teams websites.. Some can talk BS and others are critical of it. I know which one I am .

      3. To be honest, I was mostly joking. One of the reasons that I prefer this site to most is that the tone of the comments tends to be more civilized than others and typically people refrain from engaging each other with negative and derisive comments. Maybe that is changing, I will reserve judgement.

        On to more important matters…

        I absolutely stand by initial statement that Alonso single handedly earned 2nd place. Last time I checked an F1 car was built, tested, improved, worked on, developed and raced by a team of very talented people. Hundreds of people are involved in the process and the results attained on race day are typically the result of the combined efforts of all of them. F1 is not a spec series, every person’s role is important to the result when the checkered flag is waved. Fernando Alonso single handedly elevated the performance of the Ferrari F2012 to achieve P2 in a car that Ferrari was hoping could reach P5 in the race.

        Like I said, there was a lot of great driving, but in my opinion Alonso was the Driver of the Day. You can attempt to marginalize my opinion all you want, it isn’t going to change. Call it BS if you want, your opinion means as little to me as mine does to you.

      4. Peter C says:

        Congratulations Shane, you may have had the last word!………Damn, why did I say that?

        It’s like being married, the last word is the beginning of the next argument. Good luck.

  121. Miha Bevc says:

    Can someone answer me, please.
    Is Raikkonen’s win statisticaly 80th win of the legendary Team Lotus, or is this 1st win for Lotus F1 Team?

    1. Miha Bevc says:

      Wikipedia says it is 1st win for “Lotus” while “Team Lotus” has 79 wins. Some F1 statistic websites say it’s 80th win for “Lotus” (they don’t say “Team Lotus”)

  122. nusratholla says:

    Its a Raikkonen Victory in a car which was @ par max with Williams beating faster cars around him (ofcourse, Hamilton’s failure helped him, but you do need a lil’ luck).

  123. Txema says:

    For me Hamilton>Raikonen=Alonso>Vettel.

    And yes, in my view Vettel made ​​a good race, but I think not better than the others that I say. He qualified behind Webbe. And to be honest in the race he made ​​two brilliant overtakes, Grosean and Button. But for me it is not fair to say that he made 30 overtakes or something like that. First, he was so lucky with accident of other cars and also de timings of the SCs. Second, with DRS is simple to pass. And we all see as the Toro Rosso traced away from the right place in order to let him pass!

  124. F12012 says:

    Vettel was brilliant, another good drive by senna after the collision at the start he collected some points

  125. Steve says:

    For hilarity, contrast all the comments about how Vettel only came through the field thanks to safety cars and/or only made it hard for himself through his own mistakes with the comments when Jenson got DotD at Canada 2011:

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

    1. Scott says:

      Indeed. And look at the DOTD poll for Spa this year when Button won the poll and was lauded for his “dominant” drive, rather than being derided for merely winning a boring race by driving away from pole in a dominant car as Vettel generally is when he wins.

      Basically, these DOTD polls are to be avoided if anything approaching an objective view is desired. Lots of people seem to have decided that they dislike Vettel, hence the way these polls go. Strange. Is it his nationality? What is it?

  126. raztek says:

    First, I voted Vettel for DOTD. The other two candidates did their work at the start or by the end of the first lap. The rest of the day was spent holding position. Vettel did the work – at the back of the grid twice, so he gets the prize. As such, he gets DOTD fullstop. However, the debate on whether he knows how to pass a RACER the calibre of Alonso or Hamilton is still unanswered. Why, take a look at who he actually passed/how he got to 3rd.

    2 passes – Toro Rosso – Vergne, Riccardo
    2 passes HRT – Karthikeyan, de la Rosa
    4 passes – Marussia – Pic (2), Glock (2)
    4 passes – Caterham – Petrov (2), Kovalainen (2)
    3 passes – Williams – Senna (3)
    1 pass – Mercedes – Schumacher
    1 pass – Force India – Di Resta
    2 passes – Lotus – Grosjean (1 off track)
    1 pass McLaren – Button (8 laps to pass)

    Who he passed in while they were in the pits (wasn’t by strategy but a consequence of having to pit due to his wing issue – so no star for Red Bull strategists)
    Kobayashi
    Perez
    Massa
    Webber
    Maldanado

    Who crashed, DNF’d or outright f’d up (taking my inspiriation from Seb’s podium speech) or spun thereby inheriting a position:

    Hulkenberg – crash
    Rosberg – crash
    Hamilton – DNF

    Who he didn’t get by:
    Alonso
    Raikkonen

    Easy (joke to pass given his car) – gimme passes:
    10 of the Tier 3 teams (HRT, Marussia, Caterham)
    2 gifts from Toro Rosso

    Slightly more difficult – Tier 2 cars (i.e. nothing breathtaking or really challenging given his machinery)
    3 passes on Senna
    Schumacher
    di Resta

    The only meaningful passes were on Grosjean and Button, let’s look at those:
    Grosjean – already under fire so when push came to shove, guess who was going to give up his position. Despite that, the first attempt was a complete wtf is he doing as he could only pass off track so he gave back the position, and took the spot again without too much difficulty – i.e. Seb gets a knock for the first attempt and a should have done it that way the first time on the second pass

    Button – he earned that pass period. Say what you want about Button, but he defended the pass like a true pro. Had Seb been in Button’s position, I suspect we would have seen a tangle/bump caused by Seb ala Turkey on Webber.

    Question, given the same machinery, would Alonso/Hamilton have taken 8 laps to get the job done? IMHO, no, nuff said.

    If there was no safety car I think he may have had the opportunity to answer the critics, but that didn’t happen – too bad, I was really hoping to see that.

    That RB in that trim was in another league, call it F1*, compared to all others on this day.

    As someone else said he was 67.6s ahead of where he started comparatively speaking (differnce in de la Rosa’s time +71.7s to his time +4.1s)in the race which INCLUDED passing all those mentioned above – that car is at a whole other level – that is the only REAL conculsion one can truly make out of Abu Dhabi – Webber was driving a different set up altogether.

    Is Seb DOTD, absolutely, if one only looks at the DRIVE – which I did. However, if we include the entertainment package, then Kimi’s drive combined with his radio tranmissions wins DOTD by a LANDSLIDE!!!

    Has he proven himself to be on the same level that people feel Alonso/Hamilton and perhaps Kimi to be – nope.

    BTW – I am 100% impartial – I do feel Alonso deserves the title, but don’t see that happening – I just like good racing!

    One thing that I would like to explore is the level of performance RB is giving up given Seb’s last drive to qualify on the first row – i.e. where would Seb’s car have qualified if they set it up the way it was on Sunday for qualifying….hmmmm…JA?

    1. ferggsa says:

      good post, I was waiting for tomorrow’s report ang graphs to see who Seb actually passed on track
      backmarkers and toro teammates aside, now we konw he is way better than Senna, he is about level with Grosjean, and given enough laps he will get past Button
      this pretty much sums up why public dont vote for him (I did this time), for a great achievement ( he actually came from 21st to 4th in only 20+- laps between safety cars) but would have been more fun to see him fight the though DiResta train and pass them rather than jump them when pitting

    2. primi says:

      Exactly right. He is good. No, he is great. But not that great as this made him look.

  127. Lojen says:

    Driver of the day goes to Kimi for me. He made possibly the quickest start, and from then on managed a tricky race perfectly. I actually do not believe Alonso would have caught him if the race had been a few laps longer as although he got very close, on the very last two laps he seemed to start falling back just a little again.

    If it was driver of the weekend then Hamilton would be in with a good shot, he really was in a class of his own in most sessions.

    1. Stewart says:

      +1

      It looked to me as though Alonso’s tires were going off on the last lap – so he was probably as likely to be overtaken by Vettel as he was to get past Kimi

  128. Dave Aston says:

    Vettel was driver of the day, but I was thrilled for Kimi, an awesome drive too. His radio chat was one of the year’s highlights.

  129. Jorge Gaviria says:

    It is incredible, when Hamilton had the same penalty at spain, he finished 8th and was rated as the second DoD, Vettel went from pit lane to the podium and he not deserved it, what in the heck has he gone to do?

  130. Veena says:

    Guys come on, The DOTD title has been awarded to Kimi as he has already got nearly 50% of the vote.

    James, wondering, whether you are planning to put a “Luckiest driver of the year” contest after the season? or “Biggest(feared) car crasher of the year” or “Lame Driver/team of the season” or “Most funniest moments of the year” contest?

  131. Thompson says:

    Vettle was the driver of the day for me, I’m amazed at the amount of time he made up. Yes he was lucky but he was there to take advantage of that luck.

    The SC helped alot, but still to finsh as close to the leaders as he did, that was impressive, very impressive.

    Bad luck to Hamilton – but while Button finished 4th it was a distant 4th he needs to sort is form out – his consistancy is just not there.

    Webber ….wow, that no.2 driver title is not sitting well on his shoulders, the choice to stay at RBR me thinks was a bad one – he should of got his people to talk to Saubers people.

  132. Thompson says:

    To add… I now accept Vettle IS right up there, with the Hamilton and the Alonso, seriously it can no longer be denied.

    Everyone thought …great, this weekend is gonna be great and the WDC would be reignited but the man blew all that out the water.

    After the race Alonso looked like he was going to vomit…..I should’nt laugh but honestly ….lol

    1. Steve says:

      I don’t know, I was adamant here after the previous race that anything could still happen and this week just reinforced it. With gap remaining approximately the same between Alonso and Seb the pressure on them and their teams just goes up a notch for the next race.

  133. BurgerF1 says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes. I know who to vote for. You don’t need to remind me every second…

    1. Cedricbaum says:

      Lol!

  134. Robert N says:

    Foul language in F1
    ===================

    Yesterday we witnessed both KR and SV use swear words during their podium interview with DC, with SV repeating one of them in the official FIA press conference.

    Most people in the English speaking world have been taken aback, and some (including James) have been very surprised and say this is out of character for Vettel. I would argue that Vettel has no idea about the discomfort he has caused for English native speakers, and unless someone tells him he is likely to re-offend in future.

    Here is my little theory why Vettel is particularly unlucky with regards to using swear words in public. I would group the drivers of the current top 5 teams with regards to their proficiency in English in the following groups:

    (a) native speakers: LH, JB, MW
    (b) fluent, but not native: SV, NR
    (c) good English: MS, KR, FM
    (d) basic, “F1″ English: FA, RG

    Now of the four above groups, only those in group (b) are ever likely to use swear words in TV interviews. The thing is that when they talk with their English speaking team members and friends, it will be a sign of their fluency, and of their ability to banter, to use the occasional swear word. Just like their English speaking mates would do (in private!). However, while the drivers in group (a) know full well that you should never ever use swear words in public, it is difficult for foreigners to learn about this taboo.

    So maybe James should have a quiet word with Vettel and enlighten him! But then again, it is not easy for Brits to talk openly about this sensitive subject, is it? ;)

    PS: My own mother tongue is not English, but I have been living in the UK for 12 years now.

    1. James Allen says:

      Alonso’s English is much better than that, not quite as good as Rosberg and Vettel but still able to express himself very clearly

      His Italian is also very good

      1. Robert N says:

        Point taken, thanks. In fact, I wasn’t quite sure where to put him.

        I am not surprised that his Italian is very good. Given how close it is to Spanish, I would have thought that he must be fluent by now.

    2. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

      The most people who speaks English are ”foreigners”.

      1. Peter C says:

        That’s because of our Colonial past,what,what?

      2. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

        The point was, that most people may not be offended as suggested.

    3. Jane Kay says:

      I’ve just read that Vettel apologised for using foul language on the podium. So someone must have told him about the discomfort he has caused for English native speakers. Maybe it was Jenson? Or his manager? (Who btw seems to be a very nice lady, has a chance to talk to her for a while).

      1. Robert N says:

        Thanks for reporting this back on the thread. I could not find anything on Vettel’s apology, but the BBC have a story relating to this:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/20253052

        So the FIA has written an official letter to teams warning their drivers not to swear in media interviews etc.

        What I find interesting is that the letter makes reference to other sports (boxing, rugby, football), where swearing in media interviews is not an issue. I would argue that Formula 1 drivers are unique in that they operate in an English speaking environment often without actually living in the UK, say. So many become fluent in the language, without picking up the social norms associated with swearing etc.

      2. Jane Kay says:

        it was a short one on RBR site: http://www.redbullracing.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Article/Message-from-Sebastian-021243279032246
        I agree that although most of them are fluent in English, they are probably not always aware of some social and cultural norms. Plus it happened in an Arabic country…
        I like them both, but it was sad to watch and I uderstand that DC felt uneasy

  135. Rob Newman says:

    It is very difficult to chose between Kimi and Seb. Seb is more than just the driver of the day – he is too good. I want him to wrap up the championship in Austin.

    Seb really showed how to overtake in Abu Dhabi even if it cost him pieces of his wing. Just comparing him with one guy who couldn’t make any impression in 2010.

    Kimi was brilliant. He knew exactly what he had to do and what he was doing. He is one person who is honest in whatever he says about the car. Just comparing him to some drivers who like to portray as if the car is bad but they are better.

    It was good to see how Kimi and Vettel were relaxed and having a good chat after the race before the podium ceremony whereas one guy was sat there with a grumpy face.

    I am voting for Kimi.

  136. John says:

    A great win for Kimi, and, rightly, a popular one. But I voted for Vettel. He had a mountain to climb, and he got on the podium. He was a little impatient and distracted on a few occasions, and he was helped by the safety cars, although as someone else pointed out, the last safety car cost him racing laps. But his persistence paid off. I’ll rewatch the race tonight and see if my opinion changes.

  137. Simon Donald says:

    Raikkonen definitely gets driver of the day. He was flawless throughout the whole race, had a fantastic start to leapfrog Webber and Maldonado, tried to take the opportunity when Hammy locked up, fantastic pace throughout and controlled it well when under immense pressure from Alonso at the end. He was seriously disadvantage by the second safety car, but didn’t let it get to him. His fastest lap of the race up to that point on his first lap after the restart was amazing and critical to his victory. The Lotus is definitely a great car and a big step up from last years, but the Red Bull and McLaren are probably a little better, plus the Ferrari is certainly faster in a straight line. So for Kimi to display this level of speed and consistency over the season in his first year back is brilliant!

    Great race also by both Alonso and Vettel. Alonso is dragging that Ferrari up into places it has no rights to be in. Qualifying is the true representation of where they are, but Fernando consistently gets more out of it in the race than it deserves,. That’s why even though I’m not a massive fan personally of either him or Ferrari, I think he deserves to win the championship this year.

    For Vettel to come from starting in the pit lane to finishing on the podium is amazing. He was very fortunate with both safety cars and without them would probably have come no higher than 6th or 7th, but he made the most of the opportunities given to him and certainly minimized what could have been a costly day for his lead in the championship. I bet the team are very glad that they started him from the pit lane given what happened further back on the grid at the first corner. If he ended up getting no points, Alonso would now have one on the trophy, but easing to the US in a fortnight he can seal it all up quite easily if Alonso strikes trouble.

    Honorable mention has to go out for Hamilton. I was clearly the fastest driver all weekend and without car issues, he would have romped home with victory here easily. As a McLaren and Hamilton fan, it is very painful to see how things have seemed to just fall apart since Italy. Their three mechanical related DNFs have cost them a total of 68 points, two victories and, at Monza, a 1-2. What’s more they lose millions of dollars if they finish 3rd rather than 2nd. They are only 22 points behind Ferrari in the WCC with 86 points available, but they need to sort out their reliability issues pronto! They do probably have the equal fastest car with Red Bull now so there is all to play for, but this year has been a wasted opportunity for McLaren and that is painful to say!

  138. [MISTER] says:

    Hey James!
    After reading all these comments here, I would like to congralutae you and my fellow fans.

    This is a great article and I’m just amazed by the diversity and the knowledge of the fans.

    You should be proud with this James.
    This website is top notch and I personally think it has became/stayed like that because of 2 things: quality of the articles and your interaction with us, the readers.
    Thank you for that!

  139. JohnO says:

    One thing that bugs me is the fact that Vettel had the choice of starting from the pitlane which in turn allowed him to completely change his set up from quali. I beleive this is unfair, a penalty should be a penalty. If you are demoted to the back of the grid thats where you should start. The choice to start from the pitlane should not be there. By starting from the pitlane he immediately had a huge advantage than starting from the back of the grid with the quali set up (sort geared, higher downforce).

    This is something the FIA should be looking into.

    1. Steve says:

      That same choice is available to all teams. Funnily enough despite the “huge advantage” on offer it’s not often taken. That said this is hardly the first time it happened either so I hardly think the FIA is going to be looking into it just because this time it happened to be inconvenient for a few Mclaren/Ferrari fans.

      1. JohnO says:

        Firstly i’m neither a Mclaren or Ferrari. I know each team has that choice, I’m using Vettel as a fine example as to why this should not be allowed. A penalty should be a penalty to the driver…not a choice to change strategy and setup.

      2. JohnO says:

        Fan that is!

      3. Steve says:

        Dropping 20 odd grid places isn’t a penalty in your eyes?

      4. JohnO says:

        ok you’re not reading me here…my point is ANY driver should not be given the option to start from the pitlane and change set up if given a penalty.If you’re demoted to the back thats where you should start, it’s not that difficult to understand, is it?

  140. Jon says:

    I thought all 3 had a great race, but was pleased for Kimi as he deserved a victory this season, and he gets my vote. He also gets a bonus point for his “yes yes yes I know what I’m doing” line. Hilarious!!

    I was disappointed to watch Vettel come through and claim 3rd, as the championship really needed him to suffer this weekend. It did however give the race a great narrative, and the action certainly surrounded the Red Bulls, Seb on one side and Webber’s kamikaze session on the other!! Not much to say for Alonso other than another incredible start. I’ve been anti-Alonso since Hamilton’s first season, but I’d like him to win this year. Finger’s crossed Austin throws up a few surprises and the championship can be decided at Interlagos.

  141. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Kimi for me, because of :

    - the great start from 4th to 2nd,

    - he controlled the race without having the fastest car,

    - he drove alone in his way, according with the radio messages. I was delighted!

  142. JohnBt says:

    Kimi, Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton were the drivers of the day. Tough decision to make for this race. Didn’t vote.

    But the best moment was Kimi’s reply ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes……………….” the drawl from his voice was very very Kimi, I liked it very much. He ain’t no dumbhead so it was totally justifiable.

    Too much information drives a man insane!

  143. AENG says:

    My vote to Vettel & my heart to Kimi :)

    1. AENG says:

      Meine Wahl geht an Vettel und mein Herz ist mit Kimi :)

  144. Regardig this season and Grosjean. It is veryhard to explain his actions on the track.
    He wrecks every body else and is still allowed to praticipate. When will all tha manufacturers stand up and proclaim enough is enough. Hey kid, go back and learn how to drive a go cart. I know all the excuses,it was dusty and I could not see, he forced me out so I had to hit him and so on.

    I know GrossJean must have pictures of somebody and that is why he is allowed on the track.

    You blokes in Europe make fun of NASCAR racing in US and I agree with you is very bad. F1 did suspended Grosjean for his actions and what did he do after the suspension, but re-enters the track and is involved in another crash on the very next race next race. How many millions do the F1 owners have to loose in which were caused by his crashes before the sport takes actions.
    Send Grossjean packing until he grows up to become a driver

  145. Bluefroggle says:

    Forgive me for stating the obvious….

    When Vettel was disqualified, Red Bull opted to start from the pit lane and in doing so were able to modify the car with higher gears etc to make it go faster and overtake the whole field.

    So, if I have got this right, he ended up with a faster car than he qualified with. Yes? No?

    If yes, why is the car not set up in this faster mode in the first place for qualifying? I guess it is something to do with difference in qualifying trim and race trim?

    Are teams allowed to opt to start from the pit lane if they so choose anyway regardless of their qualifying position? If so, then what is to stop say Hamilton or anyone else just doing one single slow lap in Q1 and not make it to Q2 and Q3 and then opt to start from the pitlane after modifying the car to be faster in the same manner as Vettel did and then in the race carve his way through the field with a complete set of brand new option and prime tyres?

    Or am I missing something here?

    1. Vettel’s car was set up to maximise his top speed with the DRS open, so it would be easier for him to pass during the race. His ultimate lap times in clear air might’ve been lower than with his qualifying setup, but he probably didn’t spend that much time in clear air.

    2. Steve says:

      Basically what happened is the penalty for breaking parc ferme (in particular changing engine or gear box) is that you start from pit lane. Note that this is different from having an ‘unscheduled’ gearbox change some time in the weekend before the cars are put in parc ferme – that is a 5 grid spot penalty.

      These rules apply regardless of where you qualify. In Vettel’s case they changed the gear box after qualifying because he was being sent to the back of the grid anyway and thus incurred the extra penalty of starting from pit lane. It might not seem like much but this is still a slight extra disadvantage to starting at the back of the grid, though because of the unique pit configuration in Abu Dhabi the pit lane starting procedure was modified so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

      Earlier in the year I believe Grosjean did something similar when he qualified 18th and his team chose to switch his gear box. A few more people here have their knickers in a knot about it this time because it was Vettel and he managed to snatch a podium. As far as I know the rules have allowed this for a long time though.

      You are right though, the same option is available to everyone, the main reason it’s not very desirable I assume is that you are putting yourself at a much greater risk of a DNF if you have to get through 23 other cars while racing for position rather than qualifying well and starting from the front. That’s why it’s usually only taken where there has been a mechanical failure or the car involved is starting at the back anyway.

  146. Cedricbaum says:

    Out of curiosity. I wonder if Vettel got voted DOTD this season if ever? Anyone knows?

  147. Rudy says:

    Kimi DOTD.
    Sebastian LDOTD (luckiest driver of the day). Lewis ULDOTY (un-luckiest driver of the year).
    Fernando DOTY (driver of the year).

  148. Paul Piggott says:

    Hi James,
    I thought Seb’s conduct on the podium was appalling. The language he used was unecessary and I am surprised that he has not been charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. Then he poured rose water over David Coultard while he was interviewing Kimi. It’s not as if he had just won the world championship! He had just come third, albeit an excellent third.

  149. Peter Jones says:

    James,
    I wondering if you detect (or have heard of) any second-guessing within McLaren about them signing Perez in light of his recent on-track difficulties?

    thanks

    peter

    1. James Allen says:

      No they wouldn’t be that short -termist.

      He’s 22 they know that. THey think they see something but will he be another Hamilton or a Kovalainen? Only time in a McLaren will tell

      I think there’s no doubt that in the current spec F1, they will miss Hamilton’s quali pace.

      1. Elie says:

        Hamiltons race pace aint so shabby either.Where was JB on Sunday. Whats the bet if Lewis qualifies ahead of Jenson again his car will break down. If he qualifies behind Jenson he wont break down. Mclaren are almost safe 3rd in the constructors they dont care what happens to Lewis now as long as they dont loose 3rd to Lotus. Its kinda like a coded message “you won all those races because of the team and you will loose because of the team”.

      2. Peter C says:

        Fatuous.

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