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Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Nov 2012   |  2:29 am GMT  |  311 comments

Intermittent rain showers created a thrilling title decider which had everything at Brazil’s Interlagos track.

Sebastian Vettel had the worst possible start, spinning to the back of the field before fighting back to win the title. Fernando Alonso fought bravely to keep his title hopes alive before missing out, while Jenson Button mastered the conditions at the front to take victory.

Nico Hulkenberg drove one of the races of his life, barring one misjudgment while Felipe Massa drove strongly in front of his home fans – but who was your Driver of the Day?

Jenson Button

Set himself up for the race nicely after a strong qualifying which saw him finish just 0.055 seconds behind McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to start second. Made a decent start, but lost a place to a fast-starting Felipe Massa. Regained second later in the lap and then overtook Hamilton down the back straight for the lead. Lost the lead to Hamilton on the same lap, but regained it the next time around. Passed by Nico Hulkenberg, but was comfortably second as he decided not to pit for inters in the slippery conditions. Saw that cushion disappear as the safety car came out. Lost second to Hamilton, but took the lead when Hulkenberg collidesdwith Hamilton at Turn One. Controlled the race from there to take his third win of the season.

Fernando Alonso

Fought bravely but just missed out on the title. Inherited seventh on the grid when Pastor Maldonado got a 10-place grid penalty for picking up his third reprimand and capitalised by making up two places at the start. Passed both Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and Red Bull’s Mark Webber on lap two down the inside at Turn one. Lost a place to Hulkenberg and Massa when he went off track. Repassed Massa and then gained a place as a result of Hamilton’s retirement before he moved in second when Hulkenberg took his drive-through penalty. Couldn’t make up the deficit of 20 seconds to leader Button and settled for second – his 13th podium of the finish – but missed out on the championship.

Felipe Massa

Played the ideal support role to team-mate Alonso. Made an electric start from fifth on the grid to run second early on, before he lost a place to Button and then Alonso. Did a great job of riding shotgun for Alonso who struggled in the opening portion of the race. Dropped down the field when he pitted for slicks and then realised it was a mistake as the conditions didn’t improve and pitted again for inters. Clawed his way back up the field to run fifth and then inherited fourth when Hamilton retired and third when Hulkenberg took his penalty. Held on to score his second podium of the season.

Nico Hulkenberg

It’s not everyday a Force India passes a McLaren to lead a race. Showed good pace all weekend and started sixth. Made a good getaway to run fifth before putting a brave move on Mark Webber for fourth. Inherited third when Alonso went off the track and the set off in pursuit of the McLarens. Decided not to pit when the rain started to fall to climb up to second and then put a brilliant move on Button to take the lead. Looked super comfortable at the front and led the field away impressively after the restart following a safety car. But a mistake at Turn six saw him almost spin and that let Hamilton past. Tried an ambitious move on Hamilton later in the race, but misjudged his braking and hit Hamilton, taking the McLaren out and incurring a drive-through penalty for his sins. Rejoined in fifth where he finished the race.

Sebastian Vettel

Held his nerve after a horror start to win fight back and win the championship. Hit by Bruno Senna on the first lap after a poor start, damaging the rear of his car and spinning him to the back of the field. Kept his head to fight back through the field, rising as high as eighth before his charge is halted by Kamui Kobayashi. Didn’t take any risks and eventually got past. Pitted for slicks, but then came back in for inters. Benefitted from the safety car which closed the field up, but was the fastest car on the track for most of the latter part of the race, rose up to sixth, behind Hulkenberg where he stayed comfortably, finishing the race there under the safety car to become the youngest ever triple world champion and first to win his first three championships in a row.


A review of the results of Driver of the Day can be found in our new book: “JA on F1 2012 – The Year of Living Dangerously”, published on December 7th.

The 248 page large format paperback book tells all the inside stories of the 2012 season. It is a limited-edition collectable and is priced at £10-99. Signed copies are available to pre-order from this site by clicking on this link JA on F1 2012 Book.

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311 Comments
  1. james_m says:

    Lewis. He was unstoppable for much of the race.

    Until he stopped!

    1. Wayne says:

      Massa for me, he effectively drove both his race and Alonso’s. He was fast and sure and played the team role better than I have ever seen anyone else do it – with skill and fairness, with speed and controlled aggression. Ferrari must be very proud of him. It must have taken a hell of a lot of awareness and skills to be fast and allow Alonso past (twice), while holding back the pack from his team-mate’s tail. Ferrari’s decision not to sign Perez and to stick with Massa is totally vindicated. I fully support Ferrari’s approach to team racing, so long as they apply the rule fairly – if Massa gets ahead by the mid-way point next year he will deserve the support of his team mate. I slammed Massa early this year, but the boy showed spirit and a kind of grace on Sunday that you rarely see.

      Now that Hamilton is out of there I fully hope that McLaren stick with their self-indulgent, idealistic, ‘we art holier than thou’ attitude and continue to reap the results of their arrogance.

      P.S

      Can we please just stop with all this ‘Button is the master of changeable conditions’ stuff? Until Hulk Slammed Hamilton he was heading for third. I realise the safety car closed the pack back up, but many drivers have had their lead eroded by a safety car this season and retained their lead, which Button lost to Hulk before the safety car even came into play. I hate these media sound bites that SKY seem to love so very much. There is no ‘rain master’, there is no ‘tyre whisperer’ – there is only who is fastest in, to quote DC, a particular “moment in history” and for a huge variety of reasons that change week to week.

      1. Johnny Benerba says:

        Haha well said. It’s a Brit thing to glorify a UK citizen. He was very good, I think the British media do him an injustice to glorify him as the rainmaster in yesterdays grand prix. McLaren came to play at Interlagos. If it were dry with no incidents, they would have finished 1-2. Although it’s a great achievement, it’s not a season to be particularly thrilled about.

      2. Tolga YILDIRIM says:

        I rarely comment on these websites..but you sir! Spot on! Well summarised…

      3. Simmo says:

        +2 I give you two because, when reading this, that was my EXACT opinion! Massa drove amazingly, and what a team game he played.

        And Button won that off luck. It was going to be Hulkenberg’s race – he had the pace nearly the whole race, and I don’t blame him for the collision – it was ‘just one of those things’. And if the safety car wasn’t deployed it would have been Hulkenberg anyway, not Button.

      4. Simmo says:

        Hulkenberg got second for me, and Petrov third!

        Although it got ignored, it was a very dramatic way to settle 10th in the constructors too!! Although I’m sure if it weren’t for Pic moving to Caterham he may have not let Petrov go so easily, but I suppose it was in Pic’s interest.

      5. Curro says:

        BIG +1 for Wayne’s comment, all of it.

      6. Wayne says:

        JB is second in this pole? How embaressing.

      7. Sebee says:

        WAYNE!

        IT HAPPENED!

        I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!

        I’M JUMPING ON MY KEYBOARD!

        VETTEL IS DOTD!

        VETTEL IS DOTD!

      8. Wayne says:

        He definitely deserved it more than Button – why anyone voted for Button (who did nothing wrong but nothing great either) is beyond me.

      9. W Johnson says:

        I agree in the same vain about the leadership nonsense written about Alonso…..and you don’t have to be British to say that!

      10. Srinivas kata says:

        Can’t agree more. Let’s see how Alonso can play support role.

      11. Aaron says:

        Before the safety car Button and Hulk had a 50 second lead. When the rain came down, those two made the correct tyre call, everyone else made the wrong one. After Hamilton came in Button was called in by the team but was on the radio saying it was stopping so he was staying on the slicks. That proved to be the correct call.

    2. **Paul** says:

      Bar the bit where Button overtook him and Hulkenburg followed? If it wasn’t for the safety car he wouldn’t have got back near that pair.

      DOTD was Hulkenburg for me. He was very unlucky in the accident with Lewis. Dropping the rear end was far from intentional and many people struggled in the Senna S, including Button, Alonso, Webber etc.

      Massa pulled off move of the day with his tactical move to allow Alonso past he and Webber in one move. Awesome driving.

    3. Simon says:

      You cannot not give it to Jenson. He bide his time for the right moment while others were jostling among themselves, and then was fantastic in controlling the race in uncertain conditions. Even in qualifying, he beat both RBRs.

    4. Fellowes says:

      …and apart from the fact he was passed by Button and then was 65 seconds off the lead before the safety car. I think you’ll find he was stopped pretty early on.

      1. KRB says:

        Huh? 65 sec’s, where do you get your stuff?

        Sure Lewis benefitted from the SC, but at the restart Button and Hulkenberg both had newer tires on, but Lewis was able to pass Button fairly easily, then pull away, hounded Hulk into a mistake to take the lead, and only started falling back to Hulk when the rain intensified again, and when he came upon a train of Caterhams and Marussia’s.

        In effect, Lewis was penalized for being better than Button in the damp conditions, so that it was he (and not Button) who Hulk ultimately took out.

        I gave my vote to Massa … he definitely likes this track (could be a 3x winner here, gave one to Kimi in 2007).

      2. Doug says:

        Newer tyres would have been an advantage in the dry…but in the wet it was all about getting temp in them…Button & Hulk put their new tyres on under the safety car…which makes it very hard to hold temp…let alone generate temp!
        Button’s tyres had grained badly but he was starting to close on Hulk & Ham when they came together…I think JB would probably have got them before the end…and I’m a LH fan!
        Button’s shown an ability in these conditions that can’t be ignored…it’s the flip side of the sensitivity that requires a perfect car to beat LH…so 90% of the time he can’t do it!

      3. Dave Deacon says:

        That’s about right. [mod]. JB won the race. That was ‘fair’ and earned since he easily beat LH at the outset and through making the right call (which all those but Hulk did not do…) got a huge gap before the SC gave luck to the rest – FA was begging for a SC… JB’s tyres had grained but were coming back to him when Hulk slid into Ham. JB had it under control. JB was my DotD. SV was the luckiest driver of the year.

        You might note, if it was fair for LH to luck into first place after the SC it was fair for JB to ‘luck’ into the lead after LH retired. You can’t have you cake and eat it…

    5. TobyS says:

      Hamilton was driving well, but should have let Hulkenberg slide past him. I realise he wouldn’t have known that Hulkenberg was going to slide, but it was pretty likely given the amount the cars were twitching. Even if Hulkenberg would have kept the position then Hamilton was in great form to overtake again when the conditions changed. Otherwise it was a great race for him. Just a pity Mercedes are languishing near the back (of the front 5)

      TobyS

      1. TobyS says:

        Just remembered there was a Caterham in the mix, so it would have been pretty tricky to have plotted a safe path through any of it.

        Just watched it again and Hamilton was quite a long way off the drying line, so I take it back. He’d left a pretty good gap, but Hulkenberg was off the racing line carrying too much speed for the tighter angle. Pity.

        TS

    6. **Paul** says:

      Final point; unrelated to Lewis:

      Allan McNish on watching the replay of Vettel passing Kobayashi several times said that he would have given Vettel a penalty for the offence of passing under yellow flags.

      This is exactly the sort of reason where even I sat in my lounge at home could clearly see the difference between the FLASHING yellows and the STATIC yellow lights (which were seperated by a green light – which Allan even pointed out).

      Having not previously known they (Flashing and static lighs) had a different meaning I did at least question why and pressumed it didn’t indicate a yellow flag. So I’m extremely worried that F1 would even consider using a Steward who didn’t instinctively know this.

      Driver Stewards, great in theory, but another example of how lack of knowledge of the rules in the sport caught one out on live TV whilst analysing a replay that they’d obviously prepared. Epic Epic Fail Allan.

      1. Gene says:

        It’s a fair point to bring up, but I thought that the ex-driver stewards were brought in to relate their experience/opinions to race incidents between drivers, not because they have an encyclopedic knowledge of the FIA rulebook.

        Being somewhat colorblind, I actually really question the FIA’s choice of color-only race indicators since they look so similar to me! :(

      2. **Paul** says:

        Should McNish not know what the lights mean though? I thought he still raced professionally?

        Likewise Herbert and Brundle.

      3. W Johnson says:

        Far better than the Max Mosley era where we had stewards that barely had any experience….resulting in the Spa 2008 decision and inconsistencies so having the benefit and wisdom of ex F1 drivers is massive plus in my humble opinion.

    7. Carlo_Carrera says:

      Give it a rest. Lewis was 40 seconds behind Button and Hulk at one point. The safety car brought him back into the race for the lead and sure he made he way into the lead in dry conditions but as soon as track got wet again Hulk and Button closed back in on him. If Lewis was so unstoppable how did Hulk manage to get along side of him?

  2. Aaron James says:

    Felipe Massa. Did a marvellous team player role for Fernando today. Brilliant second half of the season.

    1. Wayne says:

      Agreed. Not sure why HULK is even on this list, is it customary to vote as driver of the day a guy whose mistake took both him and the race leader out? Yes the conditions were changable but Button and Hamilton were managing just fine.

      End your race and that of the leader is not driver of the day material. You cannot say ‘until this point’ because it’s driver of the DAY, not driver of the day up to a certain point!

      1. James Allen says:

        It’s not every day that a Force India leads a GP comfortably and battles with McLarens.

        Yes he made a mistake, but if he wasn’t in the lists we’d have more people asking why.

        I’m a bit fed up with all the negativity around DOTD and am considering dropping it next season. It’s borderline not worth it.

      2. Jimbo says:

        Well said James. Some people don’t appreicate your efforts and just find flaws with everything. Don’t drop though just because of some not understanding the point of it properly.

        Hulkenberg’s performance in that race apart from his mistake with Lewis was outstanding, and it’s rare we get a geniune ‘giant killing’ act these days. Days like yesterday are all the more special for it. Really hope he finds a top line seat very soon.

      3. Jon says:

        You’ll always have questions on why a certain driver is included or not. Perhaps all drivers should be in the list, then it’s just a vote of who people thought were the driver of the day.

        I for one always look forward to the driver of the day poll! Keep up the Fantastic work James.

      4. mel_drew says:

        I don’t think your DOTD slot can ever be regarded as more than a forum for fans to express their attendant unreasoned prejudices. (I’m one such.)

        I wouldn’t blame you for dropping it

      5. jeroen says:

        Don’t drop it James, just give us your opinion and let people comment on that, like good old journalism!

        After all it is called James Allen on F1 for a reason I hope.

      6. David Goss says:

        Hi James

        I agree with you about DOTD negativity – most comments seem to just be “why is/isn’t XYZ in the list?!”

        You could try disabling comments for DOTD posts so they are just simple polls.

      7. Andrew says:

        “Yes he made a mistake”

        He made two massive mistakes actually, one losing it whilst leading the race and the second taking out the race leader.

        I wonder if he’d be in the running for DOTD if he had slid into Vettel or Alonso instead of Hamilton.

      8. Peter C says:

        It would be a shame to see DOTD go, but I am in full agreement with your thinking.

        Since DOTD is entirely personality-based & the various threads have become more & more a method of insulting another poster’s favourite driver, it sometimes becomes unpleasant to read them.

        At present there are 180 posts here, but only about 20 that do not actively criticise another driver.

        Rather sad, IMO.

      9. Rich C says:

        Just don’t allow comments on it and it’ll be fine.

      10. Rene says:

        Hi James
        Don’t drop DOTD – it is great fun reading what the peanut gallery (myself included) has to say! The negative ones should just remember that F1 is a sport for entertainment, plus none of us actually know the people we are discussing, so it’s all quite superficial. Most importantly I really like seeing ‘popular opinion’ graphically in the poll.

      11. Simmo says:

        Please don’t! It’s great to hear everybody’s opinions here!!! :D

      12. Bart says:

        I do understand you, James. Please, do it (though I like DOTD). It’s really irritating to read some comments. Some people could at least try to think before they write something.

      13. Phill says:

        James, I feel that DOTD is always very interesting to see people’s opinions and views on the matter. There will always be people saying that every dick and harry should be on there, but as long as they justify themselves it is good to hear.
        I would love you to keep it next year. Sky’s one has been interesting recently, giving Driver of the Season to Alonso, shows what the fans really feel.

      14. joshua says:

        Please don’t James. Don’t let a few spoil it for the rest of us.

        Perhaps set the rules out clearly for all those that don’t understand you have to finish the race to be on the list and just block the entries that add nothing to the debate.

        P.s ordered the book and can’t wait to go though this amazing season all over again!

      15. Alain says:

        Please don’t.
        It always triggered funny arguments but at least your choice is a good reference for all of us
        Thanks you for this website James and hope to see it back next season

      16. Roger W says:

        James,

        I can totally sympathise with your “fed up” ness on DOTD. I too am tired of actually reading the posts. Why not try keeping the poll, voting and results, but not allowing comments, after all you can’t comment on most other elections nowadays.

      17. James Allen says:

        Not a bad idea. Will put that into the review

      18. Mitchel says:

        You could put it down to a vote whether you should keep it!

        I know what the answer would be!

        Keep up the good work :)

      19. Truth or Lies says:

        I think some people vote for their favourite driver rather than the driver of the day.

        I’ve always approached F1 in a non partisan way, of course having a preferred driver or team is very normal, but being an F1 fan transcends individuals or teams and allows one to simply enjoy the spectacle irrespective of who’s winning. Maybe like a neutral at a football match.

        Unfortunately DOTD via social media has allowed, partisan ideology to develop and results in skewed votes and often some unpleasant remarks.

        For those reasons I don’t like it and I am afraid it could get out of hand and lead to nasty encounters. It’s sort of brewing here in one or two places already. Which is a shame, because this is such a wonderful site and I for one truly appreciate all of the work you, James, put in to make it work.

        I’d support just voting for ‘your’ nominated drivers and closing the comments section.

      20. Bart says:

        I’ve got it, James! Why don’t you charge 50p a line for all DOTD comments and give the money to charity.

      21. Mike J says:

        James
        Well said.
        Aways enjoy your articles and your site. Whilst i do not always comment, i do always read your articles ‘religiously’ each day and will continue. I too get annoyed with the extreme bias that some people have to their favorite driver/team to the extent as you say, of personally attacking other drivers.
        But please don’t drop the DOTD due to the minority of people. Always seem to be the same people as well that do it. I actually don’t read some particular posters on this site.
        After over 40 years following F1 i reckon i have heard most things however some contributors really push the boundaries.
        Not sure of the option of just having DOTD with no comments as poll only results are pretty useless nowadays unless you can stop people voting several times.
        I understand your frustration. Your call !!

        Keep up the good work.

      22. Sebee says:

        Your site, your call James.

        Obviously it’s a bit hard to keep the passion of fans in check. Just try telling an Alonso fan that Vettel is better. (Hey, that rhymes!)

        No one is ever abusive here. Most argue for their driver or point of view. Some poke a few jokes. Some comments don’t get through. But bottom line, I’m sure having comments and discussion generates additional traffic and visits and prolonges the article life cycle. Why kill that off?

      23. Elie says:

        Please keep it going James- we’ll just ignore the negative comments.

      24. Benalf says:

        I disagree when you said it was Hulk’s mistake. He did the move right but the car oversteer and in the end it hit Hamilton’s. To me it was a race incident and Hulk shouln’d have been penalized. Racing Hamilton leaves very little options for overtaking to any driver and certainly the Force was not fast enough to counteract Macca’s kers in the DRS zone….he tried, the car did stick and unfortunately Hamilton went out of the race…race happens..ask Alonso!

      25. Davexxx says:

        @ Sebee – ‘no-one is ever abusive’?? Tell that to the poor moderator(s) who have to sift through the hundreds of comments and weed out all the nasty ones to keep the site relatively aggro-free.
        Moderators – you do a great job and thank you!
        James – Yeah I vote Drop The DOTD. Too much personal bias distorting the results.

      26. toleman fan says:

        >I’m a bit fed up with all the negativity around DOTD and am considering dropping it next season. It’s borderline not worth it.

        James, by definition DOTD is going to generate lots of heat and not much light. It’s pretty much calculated to get all the passions stirred up, so on the one hand you get loads of posts, and on the other you get a certain amount of aggro with it.

        It’s the ’11pm on a Saturday night in the boozer’ of blog threads. Lots of activity, loads of laffs and the odd punch up.

        Please keep it or not, whatever feels right for you.

        But for -this- one, tho’, Massa please. Wayne’s 1st paragraph (& only that paragraph) nails it completely for me. Awesome driving, both on its own terms and for his tactical awareness of where the other cars were around him, and how he could make space for Fernando and block his rivals. Turk Thrust, eat your heart out!

    2. Frankie says:

      Thought so too.

      Vettel made a reference to all the dirty tricks that Ferrari had played. I’m all for teams orders within a team (Massa helped Alonso just as Webber did for Vettel). However, there were many points during the race when the Torro Rossos simply got out of the way of Vettel or stayed behind when they could overtake; had it been another team they would have put up much more of a fight. I thought Vettel’s charge through the field was made rather easier by having three cars which he didn’t have to race with. Admittedly there was a point when Ricciardo tried to push against Vettel but that was very short lived.

      1. Simmo says:

        4 – don’t forget Schumi helped too! :(

      2. Doohan says:

        That was sickening to watch.

  3. ferggsa says:

    Massa for DOTD, he would have been much further ahead if not helping Alonso, good end of season
    If I had to pick a team mate between Massa and Webber, I definitely do as Ferrari does

    Hulk drove great but made a costly mistake
    Schumi at least said good bye driving, as did Kamui, gonna miss them both

    Driver of the year goes to Alonso despite last two races and Vettel being champion
    He lost by 3 points or 1% in a slower car and never stopped fighting

    Thanks for another season James and keep us posted through the winter

    1. Wayne says:

      You forgot RAI who heard an Ice-cream van and chased it down a culdesac before thinking rejoining the race.

      The guy stopped for a 99 with a nuts and sauce and still finished in the points.

      1. MelB says:

        I think that earned him a FDOTD, Funniest Driver Of The Day.

      2. Rene says:

        Nice one. I support RAI because he takes things just seriously enough to be competent, and yet he finished 3rd. That has got to bug the top 2 a bit…

      3. toleman fan says:

        I kind of imagine it bugs Hamilton, who he beat into 4th, even more….

      4. Wu says:

        It should bug Raikkonen and especially Grosjean that a potentially title winning car is being wasted 2 years in a row.

        Don’t get me wrong, Raikkonen did very well to overcome “power steering issues” (that’s BS speak for “car not doing what I want it to for known or unknown reasons”) but one wonders (again) what would Kubica could have done. We could have had another title contender in the championship 2 years in a row.

    2. JR says:

      Despite the last two races? He was 3rd and 2nd, do you honestly think he could have done any more?

  4. Nil says:

    Thanks for the awesome analysis and coverage throughout the year James! Thanks for the comments, debate and information to everyone on the forum! And of course, thanks to Vettel, Alonso, Kimi, Lewis and Button for such a thrilling season which we’ll all remember for quite a while.

  5. Cuba says:

    When comparing to teammates, The Hulk blew the other candidates away, unfortunately he also literally blew Hamilton away.

    1. Kris says:

      Literally?
      Only if we’re going by Jamie Redknapp’s understanding of the word.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mind-your-language/2012/jan/29/literally-a-much-misused-word

  6. Daniel B says:

    Wow, what a race.

    It felt like a championship in one day!

  7. Lynn says:

    Has to be Vettel.
    After all the drama & finishing the race to take the WDC.

    1. Stuart Harrison says:

      For once I agree. They joked about Alonso being bullet-proof, but Vettel is a step beyond even that. To be out of the running by the 4th corner and scramble back into the points multiple times, finishing easily high enough to bag the championship with a damaged car – he’s made of teflon! You could have dumped a truckload of manure on that Red Bull and I suspect he’d still manage to carry home his 3rd championship.

      It’s very difficult to deny him his day of glory after that drive – hats off to him!

      Feel a bit sorry for Hamilton in his final race for McLaren, he just hasn’t had much luck this year ><

      And what a wonderful race.. we've been blessed this season with a collection of stunning races, but they saved the best til last.

      1. Benalf says:

        that’s the best demonstration -along Abu Dhabi-about how good that RBR car is; bulletproof chasis and bodywork, superfast and an excellent driver behind the wheel….

    2. Moog says:

      Finally it looks like Vettel will a DOTD. I’m a neutral mainly, so thought I’d provide some stats.
      This race’s stats are still quite new and the voting is close so it could change but:

      55% of the time the winner of the race is the winner of DOTD – unless your name is Vettel. Of his five wins he’s never won it and only come second once.

      Alonso and Raikkonen take joint honours in most DOTDs with three each. Perez, Button, Hamilton and Webber all have two a piece.

      Maybe it would be different if it was ‘driver of the weekend’ as Vettel often does most of his damage on a Saturday.

  8. Simon Lord says:

    Has to be Nico Hulkenberg in terms of performing above expectations in terms of both his own and the car’s performance – until that terrible error of judgement on the edge that tok out poor Hamilton, that is. Reckon McLaren can ask him to stump up the 10 million they lost by not getting a 1-2 finish?

    Can we also have a category for mobile chicane of the day? Superb performance by Massa – Red Bull may give you wings, but only Ferrari gives you a wing-man.

    1. Alexyoong says:

      It wasn’t a terrible error of judgement.

      A car twitching in those conditions is hardly surprising, and he has to go for the moves.

      1. Simon Lord says:

        In those conditions, it was an error of judgement to put himself in that situation, and the error had a terrible outcome for both the leading cars. It was more than a ‘twitch’ and while he had caught a similar slide previously he had no room in which to correct the slide this time – not Hamilton’s fault. It was a racing incident, sure, but the accident was Hulkenberg’s fault and that is a shame.

      2. Alexyoong says:

        I hear what you say, but think of it like this- Alonso overtook both Massa and Webber on the main straight, as those 2 cars were dicing. It was balsy, brilliant, and risky- opportunistic. It was hailed as a brilliant move, because it came off. If it had not, everyone would be on his back, saying he had taken himself out of the championship through an error of judgement. But he didn’t, so he is not criticised.

        Hulkenberg was similarly opportunistic, but because in a moment the car snapped, and he didn’t get away with it, he is criticised.

        Balsy manoeuvres like that are what racers are all about.

      3. Simon Lord says:

        In the case of Alonso, he had Massa keeping Webber out of the way so it’s perhaps not a good example. I’m not criticising Hulkenberg – if you recall, I said he would be my driver of the day apart from his one lapse. I think he is a superb driver and the one with the most promise of the current crop. On this occasion, he put himself in a position where he had no margin for error if a fairly predictable slide started, which was an error of judgement. I don’t think Alonso, Raikkonen or this year’s mature Hamilton would have done the same. But good on Hulkenberg for being up there, for dicing, for being determined. I saw him race here in New Zealand in the days of A1GP and he was clearly something special. My next pick for stardom is Mitch Evans, if he can get the funding and the breaks…

  9. lordon says:

    None of them.

    Vettel, Hulkenberg, Button had excellent cars/setups.
    Massa and Alonso was lucky because of Hulkenberg-Hamilton incident.

    Just nice race on a classic track in the rain.

  10. Cooper says:

    Button gets my vote. Kept his head in difficult conditions and kept it on the black stuff. However, it would have been Hulkenberg but for one mistake. Other than that he was massively impressive.

  11. Dave Aston says:

    Vettel; from last place, again, under huge pressure, awesome.

  12. Frans says:

    My choice would be either Massa or Vettel. In the end, I would have to give my vote to Vettel because of his fight back after the first lap trouble. I definitely would give it to Massa if he was racing for himself.
    I really wanted to give my vote to Hulk, but he basically ruin his race and Hamilton race. He didn’t have to finish 1st to get my vote, top 3 would be enough for me to choose him.

  13. Vettel, of course. Last in the first lap and six at the end, And for third time in a row World Champion!
    Best world champion in modern era after Michael Schumacher.

  14. Chromatic says:

    Vettle had the Mettel

    1. Chromatic says:

      Honorable mention for one who turned off down a country lane, went speeding past farm buildings, stopped to buy some organic veg but thought better of it, turned back, crossed some cornfields, rejoined the race track, and still finished in the points !!

      1. MikeyB says:

        I think Kimi was looking for an icecream vendor.

      2. John B says:

        Classic! Kimi never fails to deliver! I love the fact that he has said he knew it was there because he done it before in 2001 but this year someone had locked the gate!!

      3. LL says:

        LOL! And he finished every race this season.

      4. Brian Jeffery says:

        Best comment of the season – go straight to the podium.

  15. SpaceJunk says:

    Easy question to answer – has to Vettel. Sure, he didn’t win the race, nor was he the best driver. But he did what he had to do and won the WC. That makes him my Driver of the Day.

    Now that we know who the WC is, just one question remains:

    James, whose hands are they on that Ferrari????????????????????????????????

    I need closure :-)

    Michael

  16. Scott says:

    Will Vettel finally win one of these polls?

    1. No chance here... says:

      No chance here…

  17. CartRider says:

    Wow this is set to be one of the closest polls ever! Every one of the five is deserving to be called the man of the day, but I voted for Massa – after such a difficult season, his upturn in form in the last third, after even the most devoted fans have written him off, was very inspirational. It was the strongest race of the year from him, and his reaction on the podium was priceless. I hope he carries it over to the next year.

    1. Rishi says:

      It is a really close poll! I also have been delighted to see Felipe come back in the second half of this season and hope he can carry it through into 2013. All five drivers were good shouts, as were others (Hamilton, Schumacher, Vitaly Petrov), but in the end I went for Nico Hulkenberg (echoes of Spa as Hulkenberg and Vettel were my top 2 DotD choices in both races).

      It was really impressive seeing Hulkenberg fight up there with the McLarens and lead a good part of the race. Only him and Jenson Button made the slick tyres last in the opening stint and without the Safety Car it would have been a two-way fight between them. He did make a mistake passing Hamilton and this was unfortunate, for Lewis was totally blameless, but it was also an understandable mistake during a period of very changeable conditions (the rain was starting to really pick up) where the Caterham was also in close proximity.

  18. Tim says:

    I’d be giving it to Hulkenberg or Massa.
    Yes, Hulkenberg made a mistake or two – and I”m sure people will criticise him for taking out another race leader. But he was punching way above his weight in the Force India, with a fantastic performance all things considered.

    Massa, as soon as he let Alonso sweep through he was there as the tailgunner. Right from the start it was like it was rehearsed as to what he needed to do to keep Mark from getting near the battle – at the start he was where he needed to be, and then as soon as Alonso was through, he just backed the pace off ever so slightly and made his car impossible to get around. It looked fantastic on TV, and was a great example of why he’s still valuable to Ferrari.

  19. well james, my choice is not on your list! in fact if one reads the RED BULL’s post race comments i very much doubt that he even raced!!! he doesn’t even rate a mention?

    mark webber was taken out by kobayashi and relegated to 18th from where he drove a very gutsy race to pull up in fourth. that was for me the drive of the day, amongst others.

  20. Timmay says:

    Massa was great but Jenson drove a perfect race. She gets my vote this time.

    1. Simon says:

      Jenson is not “she”.

      1. Timmay says:

        Jens is f1s answer to Danica Patrick isn’t she?

  21. Carlos Marques says:

    How can Vettel win this one? Sure, he is world champion but he made a mess of his race- and not for the first time this year. The only thing that saves him time and time again is his car. Without that Red Bull…

    I can’t believe he’s in the same realm as Senna with 3 world championships. It just doesn’t feel the same…

    1. AlexD says:

      I agree with you, today he did nothing special compared to many other drivers. He won the title, but not the DOTD

    2. O.S says:

      Senna is my idol but let’s face it- he wasn’t winning world titles in the Toleman/Lotus. The ’88 McLaren was far more dominant than the 2010 and 2012 Red Bull.

      There have been victories by 6 different constructors this year, and 8 different drivers. In ’88 it was 2 and 3… So to put all of Vettel’s success down to the car is missing the point..

      IMHO the Red Bull has not been significantly quicker over the course of the season than the McLaren. Hamilton had bad luck with strategy/pitstops but who hasn’t this year? Also he could have yielded to Maldonado in Valencia and Hulk in Brazil but chose not to.. can’t help but think in the same situation Alonso/Button/Vettel would have accepted the pass and tried to re-pass later thus preserving points.

    3. Simon says:

      Well if Senna were alive, he would have won all those that were subsequently taken by Michael Schumacher and we would have remembered him like Heinz Herald Frentzen: An also ran.

      1. madmax says:

        In so many ways that is one of the most ridiculous comments I ever read.

      2. Brukay says:

        Simon You forget that Michael had already beaten Senna in the first two races before Senna died in the third race that year.

    4. Tony says:

      Totally agree with you Carlos, Vettel only finished this one where he did because of a very good car and a huge dollop of luck, I don’t know how he survived that spin with no real damage – one in a million chance of that happening!

      As usual Button managed the changeable situation perfectly, definitely DotD for me.

    5. MDS says:

      Vettel got tangled up in a racing incident, kept his cool, didn’t commit one single error after that under immense pressure, despite lots of things going wrong (broken radio, pitstop with wrong tyres, pitstop with tyres not ready, etc). He just went on racing and did superbly at that.

      It was Vettel making the most of the rain, not Alonso, despite what every Alonso fan was saying before the race.

      1. Archie says:

        Say no more!

    6. KRB says:

      I sorta agree that having Vettel as a 3x DWC has, for me, lessened the achievements in my eyes of the likes of Stewart, Lauda, Piquet and Senna.

      But it’s not as though I regard Schumacher (7xDWC) as a better driver than Senna, or Stewart, Clark and Prost for that matter. People can and will discern what weight should be given to each driver’s achievements.

  22. Caterham Fan says:

    Vitaly Petrov for getting Caterham back into 4th place in the Constructors’ Championship:)

    1. I will says:

      4th emmmm.
      Yeah you r a cateram fan.

    2. vvipkho says:

      10th place

    3. Sarvar says:

      Vitalik deserves a sit for next year))

    4. Caterham Fan says:

      Vitaly Petrov for getting Caterham back into 4th place in the Constructors’ Championship:)

      I noticed my typo straight away but my correcting post wasn’t included – of course it should have been 10th place!

  23. Santiago says:

    It has to be Massa, he did all that was expected of him, and earned his drive for next year by miles.. Alonso was also impresive, vettel was too conservative.. James who is your driver if the season?

  24. Forever Alone So says:

    Plum last by first lap. Made additional pitstop for no gain. Sets fastest lap in a car which is missing a chunk of floor in pouring rain. If anyone else can make such a performance they can be the DOTD, so Vettel.

    PS: On one end we have Massa helping Alonso and on the other we have Mark Webber blocking Vettel at the start. Then moves over after a radio message. Reminds me of the people who says ‘yes’ in front of the boss and ‘no’ when boss is not around

  25. Tom says:

    I voted for Vettel mainly for keeping the nerve after the dreadful start he had to the race. May be he should take some blame for the incident with Senna but after that he was brilliant. Red Bull made some uncharacteristic errors in both strategy and during pit stops. Seb still got the job done.

  26. Matthew S (from Texas) says:

    Alonso, definitely. Finished 2nd with a car that had – at best – 5th-place pace. Possibly 7th-place place.

    Vettel drove an ugly race and was fortunate.

    Button did well, but had the fastest car in the field. Still, props to The Jense for burnishing his reputation as Master of Changing Conditions.

    I was Skyping a friend in Europe while watching the race (that’s how popular F1 is in America; I have to haunt European sites to get news and talk to European friends for camaraderie). We basically yelled at each other for a couple of hours. Amazing race!

  27. I voted for Felipe Massa on this list. But for me, another mention is Michael Schumacher.

    For being able to drive that Mercedes from 13th to 7th.

    F1 is never going to be the same without him and I doubt I will be as interested in it from the next year onwards.

    Danke Michael!

    1. OscarF1 says:

      Interesting comment.
      Given how hard has it always been to overtake the “Kaiser”, I found really appalling how he alkmost moved away to let Vettel pass in lap 65…

      1. JR says:

        Agreed, I could not believe it when I saw that, so sad.

      2. Emanuel says:

        Schumi said after the race that he moved over on purpose, as to not interfere with the championship. There was no glory to be had for Schumi by trying to prevent Vettel to pass in Michael’s last race. On the other hand a little support for a country man did bode well with fans of both drivers.

      3. OscarF1 says:

        Nonsensical and utterly disgusting.

        Following this “logic”, Button should have stopped the car when he realised it was Alonso who was second or, for the sake of it, all other drivers who had no possibilities in WDC.

        All drivers are supposed to be there to race and to achieve the best results they can.

        I can only understand two scenarios where a driver is “entitled” to give his position up:
        - Being lapped.
        - Team orders (in benefit of a DIRECT fellow driver).

        I personally dislike the second, but much more when drivers are being granted aid from “Company Group Colleagues” or even countrymen.

      4. Emanuel says:

        Nonsensical and utterly disgusting. Really?

        Well let’s imagine this would’ve been David Coulthard’s very last race in a Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren would’ve needed to charge trough the field in order to preserve his chances to win the WDC. Would you really have praised David to drive with a knife between his teeth to protect a fairly meaningless 6th position if that would’ve cost Lewis the WDC?

        I don’t think so.

      5. OscarF1 says:

        Why going to a hypothetical scenario?

        Bahrain 2010: Vitali Petrov fought his ass off to defend his position against WDC Challenger Fernando Alonso.

        He did what he was supposed to do, i.e. RACE. He affected the outcome of the championship and, literally, pissed FA off.

        In the end, what the drivers do in each and every race has an effect in the championship.

      6. Emanuel says:

        Entirely different scenario; 2010 wasn’t Vitali’s last race, in fact he was still driving for a new contract trying to impress eventual supporters and he has no whatsoever affiliation with Alonso.
        Schumi or David in the hypothetical story had nothing to fight for and both have strings attached to either outcome.
        Although you are right in saying other driver will and have affected the championship. But who are we to tell what the can or cannot do?

  28. JohnO says:

    Schumacher

  29. Ayrton says:

    An amazing season and a wonderful evolution from this site towards becoming THE source of F1 commentary and analysis.

    James, in light of a third year with Ferrari being behind in terms of car from RBR and McLaren, is that a byproduct of Alonso being able to drive beyond the car’s potential, but coming short in developing a winning car? Or do the limitations around testing have reduced a driver’s ability to play a key role in car development?

    On a similar note, how do teams deal with car development when drivers differ significantly in terms of driving style ( a la Hamilton vs. Button)?

  30. Jake says:

    Just can’t give it to Seb as he is mainly responsible for the first lap carnage.
    Nico took out the leader with a move that would have been difficult in the dry and was just plain crazy in the wet.
    Felipe was driving two cars on the track and drove them brilliantly but can’t give it to him as he was not racing for the win.
    I was never a Fernando fan but did respect him. Not anymore! Just too much bull. Ferrari has taken assisting the No 1 driver to the point where No 2 driver is not even pretending to race anymore.
    Jenson gets my vote for staying out on the slicks and not giving up.

  31. PaulD says:

    It’s got to be Vettel. What a way to win a championship. Shout out to Schumacher for passing the torch in the classiest way possible, and for a really strong retirement drive.

  32. Mike J says:

    Sebastian Vettel wins this one for me. Whilst I am certainly not one of his biggest fans, his determination in coming from last, with the uncertainty of a damaged car in tricky conditions in a championship decider is what makes legends. Great drive by a great champion. Well deserved.

    Felipe Massa deserves special mention. This race he controlled a lot of things inside and outside of his car and was the perfect team player. Had plenty of speed and slowed for Alonso to catch and pass him.
    Alonso couldn’t do much today, car just wasn’t quick enough. But that’s the story of his season.

    Lastly, please, please get rid of the podium interviews. It was almost cringeworthy today. I understand it is for track fans and nothing against Piquet but if they need to have them, have the same person at each race do them who knows the business of interviews.

  33. BoB says:

    A more relevant question at this point might be “Who was your driver of the year?” Alonso gets my vote.

  34. Brenda says:

    my choice isn’t available! It’s Kimi fo sho! hehe

    1. LL says:

      He ought to be in the running for driver of the year. The wrong turn was comedy gold.

  35. Sean says:

    My driver of the day was KOB. Strong all day and threatened for a podium until he slipped in the wet. Defn proved that he deserves a seat next year.

  36. GideanYates says:

    Despite a touch of nerves I’ll give it to Vettel. He weathered immense stress after the Senna incident. Drove sublimely from 22nd after the first lap up to 6th by lap 8! Amazing!

    If not Vettel then Button once again showed he’s the king of changeable conditions.

    Looks like McLaren should have snagged Hulkenberg. While I’m not sure he’s got the Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton talent he sure has sublime skill in changeable conditions. Hopefully he can move to to one of the winning teams in 2014.

  37. FforFerrari says:

    The Hulk was the driver of the day. Given McLaren’s pace, he was still able to fight for victory in a Force India! Superb! Watch out for this kid in a big team one day.

  38. AC says:

    Disclaimer: I’m a Vettel fan.

    I gave my vote to Massa, but surely Vettel won’t actually continue to lead this poll for long, right? :-)

    What a race…and season.

  39. JCA says:

    Felipe Baby.

  40. sumedh says:

    The Hulk!

    In my book, he got an unfair penalty as he lost the back-end of the car for the slightest moment and Hamilton ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Button made the right calls in the wet but so did Hulk.

    1. Andrew says:

      He lost control of his car twice, the second time taking out the race leader. Driving on the limit is a skill that Hulkenberg clearly has yet to master. He shouldn’t be on the list.

  41. Craig in Manila says:

    Difficult one.
    Was thinking Vergne (Qualified 17th, finished 8th) or maybe even Petrov or Pic who both did similarly well to climb-up the order.
    Alas, they aren’t selectable so I went with Hulk for (almost) achieving a result that would’ve been very inconsistent with the car’s usual level of performance.

  42. Jay says:

    It got to be Jenson. He held it together the best, managed the race exceptionally. At one point he appeared to be walking on water with those mega laps on slicks when everybody had switched to inters..Its uncanny how Jenson always makes the most out of these conditions..most of his wins (pre & post 09) have come in these conditions.

    Hulk comes a close second, what a drive. He was matching Jenson on slicks on the greasy track as well. I guess he made a bit of an inexperienced error trying to pass Lewis on the inside like that…he should waited to get a tow down the straight perhaps?

  43. JohnnyBenerba says:

    I voted for Massa. I thought Alonso, Vettel, Jenson and Lewis were all spectacular but I think Massa would have challenged for the win if he was able to go for it and still, he did everything possible to help his teammate on his home turf.

  44. Andy says:

    Button, a superb drive. Vettel comes a close second.

  45. Franz says:

    Vettel for sure, for recovering from a disaster first lap and dealing with the pressure of a championship race to emerge triple WDC. A lot has been said about luck, but all the luck went Alonso’s way today with Hulkenberg and Hamilton’s incident nearly handing him the title.

  46. JC says:

    It got to be Seb this time!!!
    Honorable mention to Lewis who was looking good for his farewell victory from McLaren, Massa with another race performing at a higher level than Alonso.
    The Hulk missed big time a chance for his first win… I doubt Sauber’s pace wIll let him fight for a win in 2013…

  47. Vivek says:

    Seb definetely DOTD. His drive (after what I thought was his mistake due to nervousness on Lap 1) was peerless. But quite frankly, it was Webber’s squeeze at the start that put him in a vulnerable position. If SV had not won the title, MW would probably have been in trouble with his team. Contrast this with Massa’s brilliant team oriented driving during the whole race.

    Coming back to the whole year, there is a general impression in the media that FA deserves the title more than SV. SV is generally considered fourth best behing FA, LH and KR. IMHO, both would have been deserving winners and the margins between them after 20 races were wafer-thin, just as reflected by the points tally. On another day FA would have won the title, by an equally thin margin. But SV ensured this did not happen.

    SV did not have the fastest car for the first half of the season, even during his win in Bahrain it was Lotus (KR) who was faster. That was a well fought win. He dominated Valencia but reliability left him frustrated. Although all the people were busy watching FA drive superbly through the year, SV also kept driving superbly to ensure he was in with a chance if the car turned around. Then he made it count with 4 wins in a row. Nobody can say that SV had the fastest car throughout the year. He capitalised the most when he had the equipment.

    After the Hungarian GP, surely the title favourite was LH, but McLaren lost the plot.

    If any one team had a car advantage through most of the year, it was McLaren. But they bothched up BIG Time with most of Hamilton’s races. Simple wins lost in Spain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, that is 75 points gone ( He finished 91 points behind, and others would have scored less had he won these races). James has done an excellent article on LH’s travails this year. To some extent, this season for LH was like KR season in McLaren 2005, which was easily a title lost. That year, most of the times FA was the beneficiary of KR’s bad luck. So FA has had his fair share of luck through his career, including the engine blowout for MS in Suzuka 2006. So an element of luck has been involved in both of FA’s titles.

    One also needs to note that during the last couple of races FA performance tailed off, when the pressure stakes were highest. They must be counted in the overall picture. FA was only keeping in the fight because FM was helping him out despite being obviously faster. On the contrary SV drove superbly in the last 3 races and pegged back the driver advantage that FA had built up in the eyes of many earlier in the season.

    SV’s drive in Brazil was peerless given the pressure he was under, the conditions and his first lap misfortune (Which was his error in judgement). A lesser driver would have just put it in the wall in the damp conditions later trying to make up places and then sat biting his nails at the pit wall hoping for FA not to finish on the podium.

    Hope there is some redressal of balance towards SV. He himself acknowledged that he has been at the right place at the right time, but so have all other former champions.

    Vivek

    1. Jimbob says:

      Apart from the fact that I chose Massa as driver of the day I agree with everything you’ve said. Honestly, one of the best posts I’ve seen on this site +1.

    2. Cevast says:

      Brilliant summary of the season. Could not have said it any better.

    3. Spiderbrown says:

      Well said!

    4. Rich says:

      A really balanced view, I agree!
      Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton could have won the title this year, but luck plays a huge part in F1. At this moment in time it looks like Vettel gets all the luck, but it is important to reflect on the fact that most titles depend on good luck for the winner and bad luck for the losers.

    5. RFG says:

      +1
      couldn’t agree more!!

    6. Allan says:

      One of the most intelligent and insightful comments I have seen on here for a long time.

    7. SID says:

      Good post but don’t agree with SV being 4th best only. Remember you point to his Bahrain win, it was down to brilliant qualifying. He’s been mighty quick all year and also in Brazil with a damaged car, in the wet he was amongst the fastest cars out there, under immense pressure; that speaks volumes about the driver he is.

      In contrast Fernando’s performances did tail off at the end of the season and in the race as well he as struggling a lot in terms of speed and ran out of the circuit a few times.

      1. Vivek says:

        Just to clarify, I do not think SV is the 4th best this year. I said, the impression in the media generally seems to be so.

        IMO – SV, FA and LH have all been at their highest levels this year and are on-par (They have needed to be, such has been the competition). FA can probably be placed a notch higher given the relative car performances.

        KR probably has under achieved, not to take anything away from him. He could have qualified better in many of the races and finished higher in terms of points. Romain did out qualify him on a number of occasions.

    8. MelB says:

      Thank you! +1 although having Massa as dotd

    9. unF1nnished Business says:

      Bravo!

    10. All revved-up says:

      Great post!

      I felt that Kimi had at least one WDC with McLaren if not for general unreliability. Hamilton has also suffered the same fate in 2012.

      Imagine if The car was reliable, Hamilton was in the running for WDC, and he got taken out by the Hulk!

      1. Elie says:

        Kimi had both 03 & 05 that’s why he dont give a s&$@ !. must be Mclaren thing to throw titles away.

    11. Nil says:

      Thanks for your post. Finally someone who actually watched the ’05 and ’06 seasons posted a view to balance the allegiance bias.

    12. tim clarke says:

      yes, this post is why you have to let us have our says James. brilliant stuff!

  48. Tim says:

    Surely not Hulkenberg. McLaren should charge Force India an extra $16mil for their 2013 gearbox package.

    1. I will says:

      +100000000. Agree

  49. I will says:

    Sorry I forget, my DOTD is Massa. I feel for him. No wonder the Brazilian fan booed Alonso.

  50. Michael says:

    Vettel wasn’t hit by Senna, he simply cut acros him and gave him no room left. So that collision was his own doing. After that he drove a good race, but nothing spectacular. Hamilton, Button and The Hulk were the best drivers of the day, so I’d go for Button because he wass one of the few drivers to out of trouble.

  51. Miha Bevc says:

    I can’t believe my eyes. Vettel is leading the DoD poll on JAonF1.com. I thought it will never happen…

    1. AlexD says:

      Surprisingly on a day when he was not the driver of the day:-)

  52. Tank says:

    No Schumi from last to 7th?

  53. Formula Zero says:

    It is Vettel in my book. He managed to achieve just enough under extremely difficult circumstances. He has done it twice in last 3 races. Massa is also not far behind. Alonso is the driver of the year by quite some margin.

  54. AlexD says:

    Gotta be Massa!

  55. vvipkho says:

    Vettel became triple World Driver Championship.
    Alonso hails fighting with Vettel for WDC..
    Caterham take back 10th place WCC from Marussia after Vitaly takeover Pic from P12 than more secure in P11 after Di Resta accident ..

  56. Stan says:

    Driver of the Day was definitely Vettel, but Massa was very close. Congrats to Seb! A deserved win.

  57. Chris South says:

    The world champion drove like one; to overcome so many obstacles in one race was extraordinary! Vettel had to come from last on two occasions in recent GPs. It may prompt Red Bull to rethink their strategy for next year re maximum downforce, it only just paid off this year.

  58. Wu says:

    Schumacher – for never giving up and despite being lapped after a horrendous one third of the race.
    Despite some damage to the underfloor Schumacher still managed to outdrive his car and stay on the track the entire race when others like Hulkenberg, Alonso, Raikkonen or Kobayashi didn’t.
    His effort also made Merc’s 4th place secure. Not bad at all.

  59. BringBackAdelaide says:

    Gotta give it to Seb…. Button, Hulk, Massa & KK were all great in a tough race but from last to about 6th or so in a handful of laps just about blew the wind out of Alonso’s Championship hopes and showed why he’s 3 times WDC at 25.
    He might be in a very good car, but he did win a race for Torro Rosso which some people on this forum seem to have forgetton.

  60. AlexD says:

    ALONSO vs VETTEL
    I just read a post from James Allen where he is challenging why people cannot admit that Vettel is a great driver and what else he has to do?

    This is my personal opinion, just an opinion:
    If you put the whole year together – all races, all facts, all tiny things, you will see that Alonso came as a better driver overall. His Ferrari was 1.5 sec off the pace in Australia. He won races when people did not expect him to do it. It was almost 100% certainty that no matter where he starts, he will manage to get on the podium somehow.
    Ferrari did not improve the car after the summer break and we see that Red Bull did a very decent improvement. Vettel in the first half of the season and Vettel in the second half of the season was a different driver, whereas Alonso was always consistently spectacular.

    Vettel is exceptional, but Alonso is better. I give huge respect to Vettel, but I would lie to myself if I will not admit the fact that Alonso was just a better driver this year.

    This is the problem for many fans…deep inside, we all want a better driver to win, but the sport is different, you need to have the best car.

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe he did, but he didn’t win the title. I’m sorry if that upsets you but its what happened. Do the history books of F1 show that the best driver always won the title? How come Stirling Moss never won it?

      ALO has a responsibility to make the Ferrari the best car, not just to get results in it.

      VET won the title this year in a car which was up and down (and occasionally unreliable).

      I didn’t mind which of ALO or VET won the title, but I am unwilling to allow people to slam a driver here just because he’s not their driver.

      And do not accuse me of lack of objectivity

      1. Anne says:

        Forgive me James. I don´t understand what you mean when you say that Alonso has the responsibility to make the car better. He is not the team principal, not the chassis director, not an engineer and not a designer.
        Ferrari had the same problem in the early years of the Schumacher era. Was Schumacher responsible for not winning against the McLaren/Newey/Hakkinen era?

      2. James Allen says:

        Drivers don’t just drive, they push, motivate, cajole, pressure their teams to give them the best car. They take care of details, converse with the engineers and have an important hand in setting the development direction.

        All top drivers in modern F1 history have had to do this.

        Anyone who thinks Vettel or Alonso just turn up and drive on a Friday doesn’t have a clue what it takes to win in F1.

      3. Ahmed says:

        Alonso needs to stop putting himself above the Ferrari team. His rhetoric is basically “I’m driving great, but Ferrari won’t give me a fast enough car”.

        The greats like Senna and Schumacher are renowned not only for their driving skills, but for taking responsibility for developing their cars with their engineers.

        I personally think that Alonso’s constant whining is not helping the Ferrari team at all. He will be entering his 4th year with Ferrari, and he joined Ferrari when they were a top team, not a midfield team like he would like us believe…

      4. Anne says:

        Thank you for you answer James. But I don´t thnink it is fair to blame Alonso´s lack of commitment when Ferrari said that their wind tunnel was not working. Having said that you may have inside information.In that case I understand. And also remember that the 80´s and 90´s were bad years for Ferrari. I don´t think it was because all the drivers were bad and they didn´t participate in the dvelopment of the car

      5. James Allen says:

        ‘m not blaming a lack of commitment. There is no criticism of Alonso here. Just pointing out that lead drivers do a lot behind the scenes.

        Of course Ferrari had problems with the tunnel this year, that’s well documented and Alonso will have been pushing them to fix it asap

      6. Brukay says:

        Well said James some of the comments are ridiculous i can understand if you want to can DOTD next year. People have look at what Vivek posted #47.That is a very good article he has posted ,well done Vivek hope we hear more from you

      7. Rockie says:

        James a fantastic line in your reply
        “ALO has a responsibility to make the Ferrari the best car, not just to get results in it.”
        People forget this part about drivers.

      8. Ahmed says:

        Thankyou James Allen!
        This is the reason why your site so good! You have an unbiased view and you point out The facts without all the crap/spin.
        Keep up the Fantastic work!!!

    2. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

      It’s no question that Alonso did amazing season, comparable to Vettels 2011 season, yet in a slower car. With that said, Massa was the fastest Ferrari driver three of five last GP’s. If he starts next season same way he finished this one, that I think will occur some problems in Ferrari garage.

  61. Andrew S says:

    It can only be Sebastian Vettel.

    First lap – last place, damaged car that clearly wasnt fast enough when the track started to dry.
    Several pit stops.
    Radio not working.

    Who knows what was going on in his mind after the first lap or during the pit stops.

  62. Panayiotis says:

    Hulk

  63. Chris Chong says:

    Honorable mention should go to Kamui Kobayashi. Considering where he was on Saturday, and how he managed to pull off overtaking moves Vettel and Alonso, and nearly on Schumi. Was comfortably ahead of Webber until his slow final pitstop and mistake before going onto Inters.

    This race was a pretty good reminder of why a lot of people took interest in him in his Toyota debut.

  64. Aadil says:

    The Hulk!

    His colision with Hamilton was truly unlucky!

    It was absolutely a racing incident! The penalty he got was ridiculous!

    It seems that there are no space in F1 left 4 racing incidents left in F1!

    If theres contact between drivers sum1 has 2 take the fall!

    The stewards robbed all the fans wat would have been a podium and a great drive from hulk despite the mishap with Hamilton!

    The fact that he was racing both mclarens in his force india was staggering! It was truly special 2 watch while it lasted!

    Its sad to see [mod] button driving a front running car when a true talent like hulk has 2 be stuck driving a force india!

    Lets face the facts button may have won 2 races this yr but compared 2 hamilton he was rubbish [mod]

    1. Formula Zero says:

      I have no problem with you choosing Hulk. Because there is no right or wrong answer to who you think is the driver of the day. I also agree that Hulk should not have been given drive through penalty. It was a racing incident under very difficult circumstances. But JB is not a worthless driver. Yes, he is not as quick or aggressive as Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. But he is good enough to win a few races throughout the season. He has never been a championship material in my book. But his style of driving makes a worthy F1 driver and winner when he does. The comment about JB is more emotional than fact I take it.

    2. miso says:

      Button won three races this year and it was only after he became a WDC that he had an opportunity with a front running team, it’s not like he’s had everything handed to him throughout his career.

      Mod, I thought this site wasn’t going to post petty driver sniping anymore? It’s disappointing to see comments like this and it’s not the only one.

    3. O.S says:

      You won’t like this because it confirms your own prejudices but Button has outscored Hamilton in their time at McLaren. A lot of people, possibly including you, predicted that Button would get slaughtered by Hamilton. It didn’t happen..

      Button fought his way from outsider in ‘Lewis’ team’ to natural team leader which I think had a lot to do with Hamilton’s move to Merc. Like Alonso and Vettel he feels best when he has the team around him. I don’t believe Nico will be given an equal shot despite the words from Brawn..

      Button also won 3 races this year, not 2. (Aus,Bel,Bra)

    4. Benjamin Richardson says:

      He actually won three races this year, and over the last three seasons alongside Hamilton he out scored him by 15 points. .

      1. KRB says:

        The points this year gained by Hamilton and Button do not tell the story at all. Only two points separated them, but in reality, Hamilton this year illuminated the gulf that exists between the two in terms of pace, and of which one is top-tier and which one is second-tier, in terms of driving ability.

    5. colin grayson says:

      unlucky ? if he hadn’t hit hamilton he would probably been out of the race instead of being able to continue

    6. carl craven says:

      Hulk lost it twice, once to give the lead to Lewis and once when he spun into Lewis. Lewis basically stopped Hulk from spinning off the track completely allowing him to continue racing. It was tricky conditions for sure, but apparently, worthless Jenson Button didn’t spin at all and went on to win the race.

      Plus Button won 3 races. How did such a malicious post make it past the moderators?

    7. James Allen says:

      Actually he won 3 races.

      [Please do not leave insulting posts again, they will go straight to Trash - Mod]

  65. Rune says:

    Many candidates but my vote goes to Vettel. He managed to take it home. A very entertaining race and a great season! Thank you James for a great website!

  66. Bring Back Murray says:

    Got to be Vettel.

    Shame the directors missed his storming drive from 22nd to 6th place in about 3 laps at the start! (admittedly there was quite a lot else going on!)

    Kept cool when there was no radio despite the pit stop mix-up. Hung on in there all race with a damaged car.

    Deserved champion!

  67. JimmiC says:

    I went with Button, simply because he didn’t make a mistake, with Vettel a close second for keeping his cool in difficult conditions with a broken car. Honourable mention to Hamilton as well; yet another great drive ended out of his control.

  68. Volvo940Turbo says:

    Congratulation to Seb.

  69. Seifenkistler says:

    Winning a race or becoming worldchampion is nothing compared to saving lives. My votes:

    Kimi, for finding a fence on his escape route. The laugh was a nice relax for the nerves of many.

    Bernd Maylaender, for stopping this heart attacking race a bit earlier

    Jenson Button, just for staying in front of Alonso

    My hope for next year, Box radio with Massa

    Let Alonso pass! And Massa replies: But Alonso is 5 laps behind !?

    1. tim clarke says:

      i agree! i could feel my blood pressure ease off after Kimi cut across the grass and the commentator said “well, he DOES come from a rallying background!” hilarious!

  70. Divesh says:

    James, did any of the other journo’s get the feeling that Mark could have done more to help Seb?

    He blocked Seb at the start, and after the SC restart he was all over his gearbox.

    He did let him through once but if you look at the job Massa did for Alonso, it was chalk and cheese in terms of a team effort.

    1. Mike J says:

      The start of a GP is always manic, Webber had cars on his outside as well. Vettel had a poor restart after the SC and was quite slow out of the last corner. Both Webber and Hulkenberg (i think) had good runs on Vettel. Vettel had to defend both and Webber lost out being wide on the white lines…Webber races hard. He let Vettel through when he had too without comprimsing his race as well.

    2. j says:

      Did you miss the part of the race where Kob and Vettel and Weber were side by side and Weber threw himself off the track at turn 1 rather than risk any contact?

  71. Eamonn says:

    Vettel doesn’t deserve driver of the day because of the way he turned in on Senna on lap 1.

    1. Robin Venables says:

      Agreed; drive-through for Hulkenberg for a “racing incident” but nothing for Vettel for causing an incident that takes 2 cars out of the race.

    2. Lee says:

      Agree 100% Eamonn.

      I pretty much ruled him out for my vote for that reason, but based on what I’ve read since, it looks the camera was lying and in fact it was Bruno who turned in on Vettel.

      Compare and contrast with how Alonso drives around the outside when he’s overtaking at the start of the race and you’ll see why I thought Alonso had the championship in the bag before the 1st lap was done.

  72. BW says:

    Again tough one, this time for discrepancy between effort and outcome.
    First of all, I regret Petrov not being mentioned here, he really fought his way to give his team 10th WCC and millions to hire some good driver, which might not turn into his favour. Yes, I’d vote for him :)
    Getting back to nominees: the race winner made it nice in the beginning and nothing more later, just managed pace. Almost the same for Championship winner, I understand he had more important goal and drove just for that, but that’s not what I want to give DOTD for.
    The title contender had a great start and not much more to remember afterwards, clearly had no pace to match McLarens, but surprisingly, to match Hulkenberg, either. Would be in more trouble if he won the title.
    For the first half of the race, I was almost sure Hulkenberg would go for DOTD, but can’t really do this after his penalty, even if it’s doubtful to what extent it was just a racing incident.
    So there is only Massa left, perhaps for his ideal support drive and perhaps for his tears in podium.

  73. cometeF1 says:

    I voted for Nico but it could have easily be a vote for Massa, Vettel or Button, as all had great drives. While I think Alonso is one of the great racer, if you consider that in this particular race he was given a shot at the title on a platter (Vettel spinning on the first lap, Massa helping at best one could.), he did not seem to go the extra step to grab the moment. On a side note, at least as of now, it seems that Vettel might finally get to win DOTD here. Marc

  74. Mustapha says:

    Schumacher! And it just won’t be the same without him. Mercedes will never be forgiven (at least not by me).

  75. Jon Wilde says:

    What a climax to the season! Vettel is the deserving world champion. I’m so happy for him and his team.

    Massa seemed extremely emotional after the race, was it home GP feelings or something more? He voice sounded like a man who’d be partying hard the night before the GP or been involved in highly vocal conversations….

    I’m surprised the conspiracy theorists haven’t linked Hulkenberg’s possible move to Ferrari in 2014 and his actions against the cars in front of Alonso on Sunday.

    Absolutely gutted for Marussia. I hope they can regroup and push to move up the grid in 2013.

    Grosjean had another tough weekend, perhaps Lotus should seriously look elsewhere in 2013. Heikki would be a strong addition to the team.

    After 3 world championships what should Vettel do next? will he be able to find the motivation to push for a 4th? Does he need a fresh challenge? Do the entire top level of management at Red Bull need a fresh challenge?

  76. Matt W says:

    Has to be Button, pretty much a flawless race and seemed metronomic. He had a little bit of fortune in that Hamilton and Hulkenberg crashed but I tend to feel that Button had pace in the bag and wouldn’t have ended up in the grass if he was in Hamilton’s position.

    Vettel is a deserved champion, keeping his cool in a slow car early in the year and working with the team to turn things around.

    I’d give Kimi driver of the season for his incredible performance after a two year lay off and beating both Mclaren drivers in the WDC despite being in the weaker car.

    1. KRB says:

      “Wouldn’t have ended up in the grass if he was in Hamilton’s position”???

      What a stupid comment. Hamilton’s front left tire was facing inward, after he had given Hulk PLENTY of room through the turn, was ceding the lead to him, basically following Heikki thru. Does Button’s car have a stronger suspension that I don’t know about?

      Button was just falling back, lying in wait? Give me a break!

    2. KRB says:

      “Keeping his cool in a slow car” ????

      Red Bull were never lower than 2nd in the WCC, and were never headed after taking the lead in the WCC after the Bahrain GP.

      Yeah, slow car. Pfft.

      1. Steve says:

        Mclaren were faster in the first half of the season but it did not convert into WCC (or WDC) points as well as it could have due to their issues off track with strategy, reliability, and pit stops.

      2. Matt W says:

        There is really no need for insults, you don’t do this site or F1 fans any credit when you go down that road.

        When I said Button wouldn’t have ended up in the grass I mean because Button tends to race a bit more intelligently and would most likely not have fought as hard as Hamilton did at that point in the race. I never said Hamilton was to blame. In the same way I don’t think Button would have ended up out of the race in Valencia. Neither of those incidents were Hamilton’s fault, but Button takes a different approach to racing where he tends to back off if he knows a place is lost etc. It isn’t a major point and Hamilton’s racing style has in turn won him races that Button wouldn’t have won.

        As for Red Bull, yes it was slow at points at the beginning of the season. It may have been second in the WCC but I think you are forgetting that A: The start of the season was incredibly tight, and B: Red Bull ran a two car team quite competitively to rack up the points. By that logic I guess we are to assume Ferrari were never slow because they finished second in the WCC? My point about Vettel is that when things were not looking good and that the dominance he was used to seemed to be gone, he knuckled down with the team and was able to turn things around.

        Very similar to Hamilton in 2009.

      3. KRB says:

        You’re comparing Vettel’s 2012 car to Hamilton’s in 2009?! Really?!? Hamilton was regularly finishing 15th and 16th in the first half of 2009. That car was a DOG.

        The RB8 was NEVER slow this year. It might not have been the fastest car out there at times, but it was never, ever slow! It’s not that there’s one fast car, and the others are all slow. The RB8 was quick enough to bag significant points at each race, until they really turned it up during the fall’s Asian leg.

        As for Hulk’s pass, Hamilton WAS giving up the race lead, he went wide, and was going to tuck back in behind Hulkenberg when he took the turn.

        Your comment is like me saying that Button should’ve afforded Kobayashi more space in Korea, and that a driver like Alonso surely would’ve known that Kobayashi was coming thru, and wouldn’t have fought it. Of course, that’d be a ridiculous thing to say.

        Let’s just say our respective takeaway’s from watching F1 are obviously chasms apart, and there’s little point to us discussing the finer details of the sport.

      4. Matt W says:

        No I’m not comparing the 2012 Red Bull to the 2009 Mclaren. I said that Vettel’s patience at the start of the season was similar to Hamilton in 2009.

        Calling a car slow is perhaps the wrong choice of words but the Red Bull certainly wasn’t on the pace expected at the start of the season and at the mid-point the championship seemed to be between Alonso and Hamilton which for Seb would have been incredibly frustrating. Seb kept his cool and worked with the team and they all pulled things together remarkably. I don’t see how anyone could really argue with the outcome of the championship. At crunch time Seb delivered whilst Alonso unfortunately fell behind his team mate.

        Button for me was driver of the race, I don’t feel he would have clashed with Hulkenberg. I think that’s a fair statement and whilst the accident wasn’t Hamilton’s fault he could have played it safe. At the end of the day Hamilton tends to be the one getting the brunt of wheel to wheel accidents and I believe Jenson’s more cautious style has actually seen him accrue more points in their time as team mates.

  77. Rodger says:

    Honourable mentions for Massa, Button, Hulk and even Vergne.
    But, under the pressure of losing the title, and despite everything going wrong, Vettel drove brilliantly to climb up the field time and again to clinch his 3rd championship.
    His detractors will always say it’s his car, but when Vettel moves on, as he will, and wins even more championships, as he will, they’ll still be saying it’s his car. He just shouldn’t worry about those bitter people.
    By the way, for having the “quickest car of the year” his teammate could only finish 6th in the championship.
    Yeah, Vettel, he’s rubbish isn’t he?

  78. Kimi4WDC says:

    Hulkenberg, McLaren should have signed him instead of Perez.

  79. Robert N says:

    Has to be Vettel for once!

    But what a drive from Massa as well. You have to wonder with the ends of season they have had, whether Massa could possibly be a match for Alonso in 2013?!

  80. AlexD says:

    Schumacher for making the best decision of all – go home finally. I was his fan before, but he should not have returned.

  81. derschorsch says:

    MSC for me.

    Had a puncture at the start and dropped to last. Then fought his way back in the Merc which is probably the worst car (minus the back three) of the second half of the season.

    Probably vote for Massa though. Outshone his big number one driver for the 3rd time in a row. This race was especially impressive.

    Bet Mclaren are kicking themselves – letting HAM go. Picking Perez for the money and not Hulk. And probaly kicking themselves for probably having the best car over the whole season. Not winning the WDC and only finishing 3rd in the Constructors beaten by Ferrari which had a crap car at the start of the season.

    Vettel was very lucky to get no damage but I have to say it was a very strong drive.

  82. Remco de Waal says:

    Button made the best calls yesterday and if it weren’t for the SC he would have won lapping almost everybody.

    1. KRB says:

      How do you figure, when he was only 2nd at the time of the SC, behind Hulkenberg? Button only won b/c of the Hamilton/Hulkenberg collision, simple as that.

  83. Charlie says:

    James, it’s a bit harsh on Senna to suggest that Vettel was “Hit by Bruno Senna”. The replays show that Vettel ran wide, with Senna taking the inside (racing) line, and Vettel then nerfing Senna as he tried to recover the racing line.

  84. Daniel Hale says:

    Should be a Hamilton option…

  85. michael carty says:

    When isn’t Michael Schumacher or Charles Pic even an option to vote for. Super race for both of them

    1. Elie says:

      Fair call Michael, Charles Pic splitting two Caterhams just outside the top 10 is a phenominal effort for a rookie in a Murrusia in those conditions.

  86. Panagiotis says:

    My driver of the day is RB8, from what is it made of this car? Adrian said that they immediately turn into low hp mapping but I guess it also profited by the rain more than Ferrari expected to be it self, and that is to stay cool, otherwise this exhaust should have collapsed after the crash?!

  87. Richard D says:

    Close call on this one. In many respects it should be Vettel for achieving the WDC but in the race he only did enough to do that after a fair helping of luck, everyone missing hime when he was facing the wrong way, and the safety car to close the gap. Hulkenberg was well set for DOTD by staying out on slicks and taking the lead, but taking Hamilton (who was partly to blame) out takes him out of the reckoning. Massa did very well again, hard to remember that his poor performance early season had the world and his dog lined up to take his seat next year. Good steady race, a place gifted by Massa and a lucky safety car gave Alonso a sniff at the WDC, but not to be. Last, and my no means least, the race winner Button gets my vote as he was supreme (along with Hulkenberg) staying out on slicks when everyone else want for inters. A 45sec lead wiped out but a questionable safety car and he kept the lead and took the win. You could say he inherited it from the Hamilton/ Hulkenberg tangle, but I think he would have got it anyway!

    1. KRB says:

      Please elaborate how Hamilton was partly to blame for the collision?

      You think he would have got the lead anyway? Based on what, beyond just a hunch? He had dropped over 4 sec’s back, even with the traffic that Hamilton had come upon, and even with fresher tires.

  88. OscarF1 says:

    I had to vote for Massa because he did all that was in his hands, sacrificing a better result in order to favour the team.

    Alonso as well made an electric race, did all he could and finished ahead of what was expected (with a bit of luck).

    Vettel made a controlled race, never risked or made any exceptional move, just kept track of what was ahead. An intelligent race but far from an exciting one… oh, and, well, he might be the luckiest driver of the year (and has the sturdiest car ;) ).

  89. Eugene Ryder says:

    I couldn’t say Vettel for this race because he was a little lucky. The stewards didn’t even investigate his collision with Senna nor his overtake of Kobayashi under a yellow flag.

  90. Sarvar says:

    That man who has a passion to his job and ultimate faith in himself and most importantly who doesn’t take his mistress to the job always wins!!!

  91. JR says:

    Petrov

    Once again the most cost effective driver in F1.

  92. sam w says:

    How can it not be Jenson? He won and was the only one who did not put a wheel wrong. Vettel put his wheel wrong turning in on Senna and even Alonso went wide at turn 1 twice. Also, Jenson only used one set of inters, something only one other driver managed, shame he couldn’t control his car later on.

  93. Benjamin Richardson says:

    Bruno Senna. He gave it his best shot and so nearly pulled it off.

  94. Blaize says:

    I’m surprised by the sheer amount of negativity towards Vettel. He was by far the best driver yesterday. If you take out the first 4 corners of the race Sebastian was monstrous. By lap 5 or something he’d got all the way back into the top 10 and it was as if the first few corners didn’t happen. It was a scrappy race but the fact remains that he didn’t need his team mate to move out the way to be where he needed to be. Even friend Schumi’s gift of 6th wasn’t in the end needed. Vettel despite all that had gone wrong was where he needed to be.

    Also all this talk about it being just the car. My do some of you have short memories. I seem to remember Vettel winning and quite frankly outclassing the entire field in the wet at Monza in 2008. Driving a midfield to back of the pack car in the Toro Rosso. Whilst completely dominating a 4 time Indycar champion in the process.

    1. tim clarke says:

      i could swear that in those early laps where Vettel was fighting back that the announcer said that “Hamilton at the front had done a 1:28 and that Vettel had done a 1:21. could that be true????

  95. JohnBt says:

    Vettel & Massa.

  96. Jeff says:

    Seb has to be DOTD, he did what he needed to do. Ferrari are clearly reeling which makes me happy. Their sense of entitlement is staggering. Managed to blame everyone but themselves for a 20 race championship loss. I used to love Ferrari but these days they bend the rules to suit themselves and sook when they lose anyway. Alonso is perfect for them, he is exactly the same. He lost the championship for one reason and one reason only. He is no longer fast enough. He is not even in the top 5 fastest drivers in F1. He has a lot of skill, just not one lap speed any more. He will never win another championship. Ferrari will not ether unless they dump all the Italian management. Too much politics, too much pressure.

  97. Alex says:

    Petrov for me. What a champ!

  98. Darren says:

    My god, looks like Vettel might actually win DOTD! Ironic thing is that whilst he has not got it a few times this year when he deserved it, this time I don’t think he deserves it. Massa or Button for me, probably Massa.

    Vettel drove a good race but the first lap incident was entirely his own fault so he gets marked down for that.

    Suprised Hamilton’s not on the list he did everything right before being taken out by Hulkenberg. I have said it before though, he always seems to get caught up in incidents like this, I think he needs to be a little more streetwise and just let things go, I’m not suggesting its his fault it clearly wasnt but like his crash with Maldonado in Valencia it could have been avoided and he would have got past later on.

    Alonso drove a solid race like he has for the last few, brilliant start and overtake on Massa and Webber (I feel there was a bit of synchronised swimming there but it was good none the less) tried his best but the car just wasnt good enough.

    Not a fan of Hulkenberg and never have been, very cocky and arrogant to not even have the decency to apologise to Hamilton for taking him out of the lead in his last race for Mclaren is frankly childish. That said he did drive a very good race and seems to have completely outclassed di Reista recently, I also thought the penalty was a bit harsh he didnt exactly mean to take Hamilton out, I doubt you could even say it was careless let alone wreckless he simply lost control on a slippy surface trying a bit to hard to make the overtake.

    Button showed us once again his mastery of the changing conditions and considerable talent in the wet. Was unlucky along with Hulkenberg to have a massive advantage over the rest cut by the safety car but was then lucky that Hulkenberg took himself and Hamilton out, never looked in doubt after that. All this was achievable because of a decent qualifying, he will need to keep this up if he is to effectively lead Mclaren next year.

    Massa gets it for me, he has out qualified and probably out driven Alonso on race pace the last couple of races (if he was allowed to compete) he clearly had loads more pace yesterday despite constantly being mucked about to help Alonso. He looks to have his spark back, his podium yesterday clearly brought back a lot of emotion from 08. I hope he can continue this into the new year and gives Ferrari a real headache next year.

    Does anyone actually know what Massa’s deal is, are they allowed to race at the start of the season before Ferrari back the leader or do they just back Alonso from day 1? I have absolutely no issue with team orders and that but I think that at the start of the season and if the drivers are both in contention then they should try and be as fair as possible.

    1. James Allen says:

      Hulkenberg did go to McLaren after the race and did apologise to LH

    2. AENG says:

      Perhaps they (Ferrari) will revise their attitude to their drivers and hope they will not hold Massa for ALO’s favour at the start of next season, seems like he found something in himself. would be funny to see ALO #2 :) anyway first couple of races will reveal cards.

    3. tim clarke says:

      i think the King of Accident Avoidance this year has been Kimi. he’s had quite a few swipe at him and his reaction-time is staggering!

      1. Elie says:

        +1 Replays of the start of the races and accidents avoided gold for me. I’ve never seen anyone do what he does so consistently- Ever! ( been watching for 30years)

  99. Elie says:

    Why did someone shut the gate – Kimi remembered it used to be open in 2001! Another classic in a mind boggling race. So much goin on all the time.

    I want to pick Vettel for holding it together, but at the same time his mistake at start caused his dramas & seriously if it was any driver other than Kimi pushed wide and locking up so badly into t1?it might of meant the end of Sebs title. I was thinking goodbye Seb then Kimi flicked to the right – sensational ! I have to hand it Felipe- I ve been his biggest critic all year- but since Sept he got his mojo back and is driving better than he’s ever driven, his overtakes at Interlagos will long be remembered. Jenson was probably my next best- by being so damn consistent in such difficult conditions. I would really like to know when Felipe was fighting Jenson off and Fernando came up the inside of both– was it more Felipe knowing he was there and giving him room ( as usual) or was he just too busy trying to fend Jenson off ??

    I would have considered Both Hulk & Lewis but Hulks slide ended both their chances of that. At the back there was some great fights too . Petrov did a great job, but whilst Pic finished behind him, I found that a tremendous effort in those conditions for such an inexperienced driver- & why he will be one to watch his career progress with Caterham in 2013.

    Thanks James for a terrific coverage of 2012 & keep it rolling with Winter updates .

  100. Andrew Carter says:

    So many good drives, but I went with Button, could have been any one of 6 drivers though.

  101. Haydn Lowe says:

    My feelings about the DOTD kind of encapsulate the season really. I’ve gone for Alonso. Wrung the maximum from his car AGAIN, did as much as he could to maximise his finishing position AGAIN, and to top it off, when losing the championship he deserved above all others, he stayed really classy. What a guy…

  102. Alberto Martínez says:

    I can´t believe the way people are understating Hulkenberg´s pace in all kind of condition yesterday. He was the fastest driver in the race with an inferior car: simply compare his pace to Di Resta in the same car.

    I believe that if that kind of actuaction was made by Hamilton, Alonso or Vettel most of the people would be voting for them.

    1. colin grayson says:

      force india ran a split strategy …hulk set up for the wet and di resta for the dry
      the result was inevitable

    2. **Paul** says:

      I concur, that’s what I voted for Hulkenburg even though I’m a Jenson fan, who is also pretty impressed with Vettel in recent times.

  103. Cedgy says:

    Vettel for DOTD! I’m a ferrari fan but Vettle showed great class fighting back from last to 7th and claiming his 3rd world champion title, what a race! Thank you gentlemen for such an explosive finale!

  104. Glen says:

    Does anyone know if Alonso or Vettle would have won under the old points system??

    1. Jimbo says:

      I believe under the previous system, Vettel would’ve won by a single point. Still prefer the old system. Easier to understand and compare, generally speaking with past records.

  105. Zhenya says:

    Kimi – for showing unconventional ways of getting out of the trouble!

  106. MDS says:

    James, how exactly do you think Vettel benefitted from that first safety car? It allowed those well behind him to close up on him. Kobayashi got Vettels place, the latter essentially being a sitting duck on a drying track with the bodywork damage. Vettel then lost quite a bit of time behind Kobayashi.

    It also allowed Alonso to close the gap on the distant top 3, which was essential since he was running fourth (if I recall correctly) and that was never going to be enough to win the WDC.

  107. Dave P says:

    James, are you going to publish the winner of all your previous polls for this year giving us a poll of polls?

  108. zx6dude says:

    “Hit by Bruno Senna”… No. That is not what happened. Vettel hit Bruno Senna. not the other way around.

  109. Richard says:

    Should have been Lewis’s race, but was taken out by youthful over confidence. Hamilton received no apology from Hulkenberg, quite the contrary, Hulkenberg didn’t understand why he had the penality! I therefore gave my vote to Jenson who quite cleverly stayed out on slicks while the others chopped and changed tyres. He was of course forced to change, but had it not been for the safety car he would have had quite a lead except for Hulkenberg who I think would have made an error ultimately.

  110. Grant says:

    hulkenberg should have backed out, lewis gave him room and he still tried to make an impossible pass stick, idi*t

  111. Alexyoong says:

    A comment on Button and Hamilton:

    When Button left the Brackley team for McLaren, people were surprised, thinking it not a good move, and sure he would be trashed by Hamilton at McLaren. In fact, points-wise, the 2 were quite evenly matched in their three years together, though Hamilton had the edge. Button did beat his teammate last year though.

    Now, Hamilton is going to the Brackley team from McLaren. Again people are surprised, though perhaps because they can’t see that team dominating. Well, I too was surprised, but I wonder whether, a bit like Button at McLaren, Hamilton will prove his doubters wrong at Mercedes. Big budget, Hamilton and Brawn can’t be a bad combination, can it?

  112. Marcelo Leal says:

    With a Spin and taking the leader out of the race, he is canditate of driver of the day?
    A driver with a super license, and that out-brake at Senna’s “S”, raining, and without appropriate tyres?
    The driver that did cost almost US$20M to McLaren, because they so did lose the 2nd place at WCC?
    The driver that ended the last race by Lewis Hamilton at McLaren and cost him the third place at WDC?
    Ok, we need to respect that, is your opinion.

    1. Andrew says:

      I agree, ridiculous that he is on this list. Any fool can drive the car fast but most are trying to stay within the limits of the car and track. Hulkenberg lost control of his car TWICE because of his wreckless driving.

      If he had taken out Vettel or Alonso instead of Hamilton then there is no way he would be on this list.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Alonso made at least two mistakes. Raikkonen did three, and Webber also made one or two, and those are just the ones I can recall seeing on the global feed from the top drivers. Hulkenberg was not alone.

  113. Kit says:

    Has to be Kimi for thinking out of the box! Racing on an alternative track. That’s ‘scandalous’.

    A Kimigate!

    LOL!

    Rgds,
    Kit

    1. tim clarke says:

      KIT YOU ROCK! KimiGate!

  114. Sergio says:

    It could sounds like a non sense but the best way to expulse the pressure is having an incident at the begining and to have the chance to continue. Before that Vettel was a bundle of nerves. Lot of radio messages calming the triple wolrd champion. This is a non sense.
    Massa was the driver of the day. For the first time this season he acted as a real bodyguard of his mate and he showed real chances to be at the front. One thing that amazed me how bad Fernando’s car was in the two final races struggling so much with his wheel.

  115. Anne says:

    I have to say Hulkenberg. It was very unexpected to see him leading the race for a while. He does have a special chemistry with the Brasil GP. Two years ago he got the pole with Williams

  116. Craig Baker says:

    Spa and Suzuka were out of Alonso’s control but outbraking himself at the start of lap 5 was within his control and may have cost him the WDC.

    Senna almost earnt himself a drive for Ferrari in turn 4 lap 1. Almost!

    My DOD was Button for keeping his nose clean in a messy race that was in desperate need of a sheep dog to keep all the drivers in line.

  117. Hotshoe says:

    Since the question is, “who was your driver OF THE DAY?” (emphasis mine), my vote goes to Jensen Button. We can give Vettel (which he was for sure) driver of the year, Massa wingman of the day, and so on. What I don’t understand is Hulkenberg receiving over 14% of the votes for driver of the day; should be buffoon of the day.

  118. richard piers says:

    It seems very few people have noticed how Hulkenberg’s little rush of blood to the head has cost McLaren a huge amount of money. The antics of the inexperienced may be entertaining but you sometimes think the old days when it hurt had something to be said for them. The punishments for the “errors” of judgement need to be seriously thought through, Grosjean’s time out doesn’t seem to have done the trick.

  119. Janis says:

    Aww!
    And where in this list is Petrov, and where is Schumi?
    Both did extremely well in this chaotic race!
    Petrov achieved the best result any of the 3 new teams have achieved in these 3 years.
    And Schumi’s race should be put in context with his first lap puncture, and his P7 finish compared to Rosberg’s P17.
    Oh well, I’ll go with Massa then. Who else would have driven so well driving for someone else (Alonso) besides him?

  120. richard piers says:

    One man drove fast and faultlessly and won the race almost everyone else made mistakes. It ain’t dodgem cars. Nuf said !

  121. wickerman says:

    JB for me.

    James,
    will you do some sort of summary/statistics of DOD during 2012 season?
    It would be nice to see who was voted most of the times DOD during 2102 season.

    I am aware that it has been lots of negativity around DOD in comments area but it would be pity to drop it for next year.

  122. nusratholla says:

    Nico Hulkenberg in a Force India…. Gauge the Car v/s. where he was in the race – Leading Mclarens, Ferraris and Redbulls…. Unbelievable Performance…. Mclaren should have picked him up instead of Perez…. I’m sure a lot of top teams will be looking closely at him for 2014.

    Definitely a better performance than Perez’s Sepang Performance.

  123. A very, very tough call, this one. I don’t think I’ve seen a race with so many genuine DoD contenders.

    Hulkenberg was outstanding and had he kept his nose clean and finished on the podium then I’d have to go for him. Sadly, he got a bit carried away and took too big a chance when trying to pass Hamilton. I hope Sauber can provide him with the upper-midfield car that he deserves next season.

    Button was magnificent, too. Like Hulkenberg, his early tyre call was inspired and both drivers showed impressive skill and nerve to carry it off. It was really a shame when the safety car wiped out their advantage, but that’s racing. Button once again proved to be the master of changeable conditions, but he wasn’t content to just sit back and wait for the result to come to him, as his battles with Hamilton showed.

    Alonso fought hard all afternoon, but between the Ferarri’s pace and their conservative strategy calls, he was never able to really threaten the lead or force Red Bull to take risks. That’s where I feel they could’ve won the title, but as it was they made it far too easy for Vettel to just shadow them.

    Speaking of Vettel, his was a drive worthy of a World Champion. He should’ve left room for Senna, but it would’ve been easy for a driver or team to panic after being dumped down the field on the first lap. I think any questions of Vettel’s overtaking ability can well and truly be put to bed, now; you don’t come all the way through the field in difficult conditions, at a tricky circuit like Interlagos unless you can overtake and keep your nose clean.

    Finally, Felipe Massa, who once again looked like the Massa of old. He did his duty, was quick all race and if not for a bad tyre call, could’ve challenged Button for the win. I might have a cheeky bet on him to win in Bahrain next year.

    So, who was the driver of the day? My head says Button but my heart says Massa. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these five, though.

  124. Max says:

    I can’t understand how Vettel is winning this?

    It has to be Button or Hulk.

    Vettel collided with Senna (own fault), took wrong tires (own fault) and passed cars who got out of the way to not cause a disturbance in the championship (except for Kobayahsi).

    I can’t see how that takes you to DOTD, I just can’t.

    Button got my vote.

    1. 69bhp says:

      did you see Vettel’s awesome pace in the wet in his damaged and detuned car? Back up to 6th place in a handful of laps, caught up with Alonso etc.
      Also caught Webber, whose car was running perfectly unlike Vettel’s. Yes, Webber let him by on that occasion but Vettel was already on his tail, and once he got by Webber he pulled away easily.
      He absolutely deserves DOTD.

  125. Tim says:

    DOTD: Felipe Massa – Scintillating start, brilliant pace, exquisite race-craft. Perfectly timed, deft move on Webber, handing a double pass on a sterling silver platter to his teammate. Drove the most cerebrally challenged race of all the drivers.

    Attacking, playing body-guard to his teammate, on-the-charge, and laying back for Alonso to pass him, every facet of what is required of a top-flight driver was on display. Should be used as an instructional video for rookies.

    Once again, THE class act shines through.

    Tim

  126. Captain LeChuck says:

    Got to be Vettel. Come on, he was facing the wrong way on lap one, then had the rest of the race to go with a damaged car.

    So, given that Red Bull had to map his engine to lower power so that the exchaust didn’t get too hot (and thus ignite the car due to the damage), I’d say finishing with enough points to clinch the championship is bloody good going.

  127. The only races where Alonso didn’t score points were Spa and Suzuka, which were not his fault, nor the fault of anything else under Ferrari’s control (reliability, strategy etc). The points he would have gained from just one of those races would have been enough to win the title.

    On the other hand Vettel’s DNFs were reliability related, for which the team is ultimately responsible. His accident with Senna at Interlagos was completely his own fault. That his car was able to make it to the end of the race despite the violent impact can only be classified as EXTRAORDINARY LUCK.

    Vettel is a great driver, no doubt, and no one can say “Anyone could win the WDC in a Red Bull”, otherwise Webber would have been up there too. However, he was only WDC this year because of a huge amount of luck, and a huge amount of bad luck for Alonso.

    There is no question in my mind that Alonso deserved the 2012 WDC more than Vettel. But it won’t be the first time or the last time that the less deserving driver has won the title, that’s just the way it is unfortunately.

  128. Geenimetsuri says:

    Kimi…Lost the track at one point, still managed to score points :-D

    Eh, more seriously, Hulkster gets my vote.

  129. F12012 says:

    Yeah, great drive by petrov, especially as he could be on his way out of the team

    Think hulkenberg’s form has really damaged di resta’s position as an up an coming driver, hulkenberg has blown him away in the second half of the season

  130. OJ says:

    Button is the DOTD. He has proved this year why he is up there with the best along with Alonso and Vettel. [mod] Button has outscored Hamilton by 15 points. In fact, it could have been more if not for getting taken out in KoreA, gearbox penalty in Japan and suffering the fuel pickup issue in Italy.[mod] What I do know is that from the three years together, Button has beaten Hamilton [mod] FACT.

    1. KRB says:

      Lol, so you’re saying Jenson could’ve scored more if not for this and that, while keeping all of Hamilton’s DNF’s while in the lead, etc.?

      Typical.

      Fact is Hamilton pwned Button this year. Any team principal who would plump for Button over Hamilton would be sent to the medical centre for immediate evaluation!

  131. AdrianP says:

    While it might seem a bit uncharitable to Lewis (given that he was bundled out by Hulkenberg), I, for one, am glad that the effect is that Button outscored him over their three-year partnership at Maclaren. The result is a huge fillip for Maclaren and Button going into next season.

  132. Stone the crows says:

    My choice was Massa. I appreciated Hulkenberg’s effort; leading off of Hamilton is no small feat. But… he didn’t finish the race. Alonso was fortunate to finish as high as he did; without the weather, Massa’s help and a retirement he wouldn’t have been on the podium. Vettel did as much as was necessary and held it there. And had Lewis not been knocked out Button would have finished second at best. So that leaves Felipe Massa. He had a fantastic start, and had the race well in hand from start to finish. All of the drivers had a goal for the race, for two it was a championship, for others it was to finish on a high note with their teams, or put their teams in a better position fiscally. But Felipe? I think he did more than anyone else, which was to vindicate himself in his home race in front of his people. I’m glad to see his form has improved, and look forward to seeing his performance in 2013, but sad to know that he’ll spend another year being a pawn in Alonso’s game.

  133. Gene says:

    This has to be the toughest DOTD vote ever. There were so many spectacular drives in some of the trickiest conditions I’ve ever seen at a GP. Hell, I wish we had seen more of the Caterham/Marussia fight because I think there’d be a DOTD honorable mention somewhere in there too.

    Every driver up there has valid reasons to be chosen, but I think Vettel/Nico were the top 2 for me (I cheated and voted once for each…. lol).

    BTW, I actually have to give the blame for the Vettel/Senna incident on Senna. If you look at the 1st turn, the roles are reversed, with Vettel having the option to dive down underneath Webber. Webber takes his normal racing line, and Vettel goes as far as he can before realizing that Webber is not going to give him room, and backs off. It massively hurt his momentum, but it kept him in the race. This, in my opinion, is what Senna should have done instead of diving inside Vettel from 2 cars back. The other car directly behind Vettel (don’t remember who it was) didn’t make the move, so he had every right to assume the racing line. Senna just came from too far back and made an overly optimistic move. I’m certainly for no penalty on Senna though. Racing incidents tend to even out over the course of a season.

  134. Rob Newman says:

    Vettel … and I am glad most people have voted for him.

    I am bit bemused. Nico did a fantastic job and would have won the race. He didn’t deserve the penalty. But my question is, a few months back, Vettel was not featured in the DOD and James said that is because of his penalty. Then how come Nico is here? I see some double standards.

    Alonso was 2nd but was it on merit?

    1. Rob Newman says:

      Massa did a better job again this time. Shame he had to move over for his team mate. He could have been second. The tears on the podium said it all.

  135. Antonis Papadakis says:

    I voted seb but now that it is over there is nothing like Kimi, i believe that he will leave a legacy for the young funs of f1

    1. Stone the crows says:

      I think we’ll see a lot more from Kimi in 2013, Lotus has everything they need to bring home a championship.

  136. Mike from Colombia says:

    Cannot stand Button, but Driver of the Day has to go to him.

    Hamilton may have been faster, but Button made all the right decisions on the day and seems to have a knack of doing this in changeable conditions.

    Massa is a gentleman and has really shown true spirit by helping Alonso and not allowing himself to become a beaten man in the face of fierce pressure from the media and Tifosi.

  137. JB says:

    Vettel and Alonso have the pressure of the driver title when everyone else could go out thinking they have absolutely nothing to loose. So there is only 2 real choice, IMO.

    I choose Vettel because he everything went wrong for him on the day and Alonso was considerably lucky. Alonso had plenty of help from Massa being a moving block and then give way. Vettel had to fight from the back with a broken car (RedBull detune the engine to ensure it does not catch fire).

    Vettel definitely deserved the title, DOTD, and classify as one of the greats.

  138. Michael Spitale says:

    Did not like seeing Alonso need so much help from Massa at seasons end. Really thought with it all to play for he would not be getting beat out in qualy and race pace to Massa. In fact Massa had to slow down twice yesterday to let Alonso by.

    Great season… Vettel deserved title, Alonso drove great and Kimi for comeback kid

    1. James Allen says:

      ..as Massa did for Kimi so he could win the title in Brazil 2007….

    2. 69bhp says:

      would just add – contrast Massa’s actions with those of Webber, who squeezed Vettel at turn 1 on 1st lap (which led to Vettel falling back into the pack and partly to his being spun round at turn 4), and tried to pass Vettel at the restart (and ran wide himself and lost places as a result).

      Yes he did let Vettel by once, but that was because Vettel was much quicker (despite his damaged and detuned car), unlike Massa who actually had to slow down massively to let Alonso catch up.

  139. Rossco says:

    Definitly Massa. Hamilton should be up there even though he didn’t win. Button got extremely lucky again, didn’t have the pace for most of the race and only won because of the two cars in front of him colliding. He will miss Lewis next year. Hulkenberg rammed out a driver, yet the consensus is that it’s okay because he’s punching above his weight. What about when Grosjean made his mistake in Spa, there were calls to ban him. Joke.

  140. Davexxx says:

    To James Allen:
    Dear James, In one way I’m glad it’s the end of the (best ever) F1 season – because I’m glad you’ll now have a break! I can see some frustration and loss of patience creeping into some of your latest comments – and this isn’t criticism, it’s sympathy! Yours is a great site which most of us really appreciate and it’s a pity a few hard-core spoil it for everyone else.
    Enjoy your break!
    Many Thanks.

  141. Wombat says:

    Massa – great to see him back in top form. Closely followed by Button (for his patience and persistence mostly).
    Enjoyable tense race of the modern genre with the field being mixed up many times with many players, not least being the main stars Alonso & Vettel who provided the high drama.

  142. madmax says:

    Why no Schumacher choice? Was last after the puncture in probably the slowest race car apart from the new teams and yet finished one place behind Vettel driving the best or at worst 2nd best car.

    Massa my choice as easily faster than Alonso yet again and perhaps would have had a chance of winning if not for messing about helping his teammate.

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