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Chinese Grand Prix – Who was the driver of the day?
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Chinese Grand Prix – Who was the driver of the day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2011   |  5:42 pm GMT  |  160 comments

There was plenty of action all the way down the field until the final lap of the race, so it’s a tough call for driver of the day. Who’s yours?


Lewis Hamilton – Qualified third and made a good start to jump slow-starting pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel into the first corner for second. Drove an aggressive race, pulling off a bold move on team-mate Jenson Button before passing Vettel for the lead. His 15th career victory and first since last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.


Mark Webber – The Australian had another tough weekend, crashing out of Q1 for the first time since Bahrain 2009 to start the race in 18th. But for the second race in a row, he drove like a man possessed, fighting his way back through the field to finish an incredible third, just 7.6 seconds behind race winner Hamilton.

Nico Rosberg – Qualified fourth, finished fifth. The Mercedes showed improved pace this weekend with Rosberg taking the lead after the first round of stops. Made a three-stop strategy work, but was forced to save fuel in the final stint which saw him lose positions to Hamilton, Webber and Button. His best finish of the season.


Felipe Massa – Beat his team-mate for the second race in a row after matching him for pace all weekend. Showed good pace throughout the race, but a two-stop strategy left him vulnerable in the final stint and he dropped from second to sixth. Nevertheless a strong showing.

Michael Schumacher – Started 14th after suffering a DRS problem in qualifying but a good start catapulted him up to 10th on the first lap. Showed flashes of his old self as he rigorously defended and attacked all race long. Just ran out of time in the pursuit of Fernando Alonso and finished eighth.

Heikki Kovalainen – Another accomplished drive from the Finn who was comfortably the fastest of the new teams. More encouragingly for Team Lotus, Kovalainen beat the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez’s Sauber (albeit the Mexican picked up a drive-through) on his way to 16th.


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1

Driver of the day without any doubt mark webber

Seb too performed superbly and brilliant drive indeed

One thing which is very funny, massa outperformed alonso ?

Felipe massa is the worst driver i have ever seen in F1 thus far, he never deserves ferrari drive. It’s a shame and disgrace seeing him drive this ferrari, on other hand Alonso is genius and best driver in F1 ever in my view

To say massa performed better than alonso is silly

2

I like Mark Webber a lot but what counteracts his occasional flashes of brilliance are poor starts or the major mistake he often makes at crucial points in the championship.

These are equally often compounded by unreliability or woeful strategic decisions made by the team.

Lewis has made a few notable mistakes and misjudgements of his own, but these are largely behind him and it’s easy to forget just how young he still is.

There is no doubt in my mind that Vettel and Hamilton are currently the two best F1 drivers on the grid. I suspect that Lewis is probably the fastest of the two so it’s probably just as well that Adrian Newey left McLaren and designed Vettel’s Red Bull !

Other drivers :

We clearly need to keep an eye on Paul Di Resta : he proved capable of beating Vettel in equal machinery and there can be little doubt that he will be in a better car, possibly as early as next season.

You never know, he might just be driving the second Red Bull.

Perez, ditto

Fernando who ?

3

Further to previous … it’s not so much pitting several times but having to conserve short-life tyres for most of the race that is taking away from the actual racing I miss.

4

Call me old-fashioned but I’d like to see a return to the days when driving skill was the ultimate determinant in FI races. Having to pit several times because tyres only last a handful of laps is turning the sport into farce.

If they can fuel cars to the end of the race why not have tyres that will also last the distance? One set of dries and one of wets per race, and let’s see who can really drive…

5

A bit of a late vote from me.

My heart says Webber but my head says Hamilton.

P3-> P1, including an ontack pass for the lead puts him in a 50/50 for race of the day.

The clincher for me is that Hamilton’s win also changes the shape of the championship.

Until China, we were looking at a complete Vettel/RB domination.

Now we have a live championship race and for giving us that, the least we could do is give him driver of the day.

6

Mr Squiggle – We have to consider the driver of the day based on the facts and circumstances of the arace.

To choose Hamilton because it means the championship is now ‘open’ is putting your own hopes for the year onto the race.

3 races in – Even if Vettel had won it hardly ‘sealed’ the championship. Look at Alonso last year!

To slightly twist your logic – if Vettel had retired with a puncture on the last lap he might get ‘driver of the day’ for making the championship more open!

7

The results of these polls are always somewhat unnerving b/c most people don’t look beneath the surface. On the face of things, Mark Webber was by far the best driver, but what were the consequences of his success? A Red Bull came third. Not terribly impressive, though, I may change my tune if Red Bull win the constructor’s title by a handful of points.

Hamilton won the race. The psychological and competitive consequences of his actions and McLaren’s strategy are far more consequential. McLaren now believe they can win, and they have stolen a valuable victory from Vettel while they develop an updated version of their car.

The implications of McLaren victory are more important than an entertaining masterclass from a team who screwed up qualifying. Without knowing the outcome of the constructor’s title, it is impossible to pick MW.

8

90% of the F1 community disagree with you.

But of course you are entitled to your opinion

as are the rest of us.

9

Top 3

1 – Lewis Hamilton – anyone who makes big passes at the front like that deserves driver of the day. Waited patiently for his moments to come in the race. And when he was ready he clawed his way through like a man possessed. World class.

2 – Mark Webber – stunning. Had the benefit of 100% fresh tyres unlike the rest but used them as good as anyone could. Stunning pace at the end fully optimising that great car and it’s tyres.

3 – Michael Schumacher – he gave a lesson to everyone into how to defend and attack in 90 short minutes. Incredible defending showing he still has truly exceptional race craft.

10

Mark Webber. He is just unlucky. Another Nigel Mansell?!

11

Going off topic here; it would be great if the broadcasters and live timing on the official F1 site show an on screen breakdown of driver tire stints. For example:

Driver: Penelope Pitstop

Start : Prime

First stop: Option (Lap 18)

Second stop: Prime (Lap 40)

This would make it easier for the fans to follow the race.

12

For me, Webber’s driver was great, but we have to remember he still has the fastest car out there. But still a great drive. For me the Mercedes guys did make the race especially interesting cause all of a sudden out of nowhere you see Rosberg leading the race…it was amazing. And I personally am super excited to see Schumi back in the action, so he is my driver of the day…

13
Pit straight weaver

Hamilton. His overtaking was sublime.

14

Mark Webber for sure. He could have simply given up from the start or got stupid or silly and lost a wing hitting someone in midfield. But kept his head despite bad opening and pumped in the laps and passed whoever he came acrossed. Maybe his best drive ever?

15

Shout out to Kovalainen and D’Ambrosio from the smaller teams. Kovalainen for beating a couple of midfield cars on merit, and D’Ambrosio for putting Glock well in the shade all weekend, including outqualifying him by about 6 tenths.

Webber gets the DoD for me, with further honourable mentions for Rosberg, Hamilton, and Massa.

16

one question…

would vettel have won on a 2 stop strategy if he hadnt been slow off the line. Perhaps he would of pulled out enough of a gap to hold on to the lead?

17

webber was maybe driver of the day – especially as he didn’t have KERS – but he wasn’t driver of the weekend. i know he had some problems in practise but getting knocked out in Q3 was his mistake. so overall i’d have to give it to Lewis – he made the passes when it really mattered.

also i’m pretty sure i heard that Heikki’s fastest lap was quicker than Alonso’s…?

18

Marks ousting was in Q1 actually.

And it was a pit wall decision with regards to tyres. This is covered in quite a few places.

19

It was a bold move on Button, though in needs to be honestly said that Jenson did not fight it. Might be because he’s a team player, but he certainly isn’t the kind of competitor Lewis is.

I still believe that the best measure of a driver is whether he can beat his teammate. Not everyone has a teammate as strong as Hamilton obviously, but it occurs to me that few other drivers are beaten so often as Button at McLaren.

20

Like most – I vote for Webber, simply brilliant all things considered!

It’d be nice to see him drive like that on a more consistent basis instead of waiting to have his back against the wall before delivering something special.

Special mention to Kovy for punching above his weight in the Lotus!

21

Hamilton:

Overtook his team mate with very similar tyres without DRS.

Caught and passed Vettel for the lead.

Quickly passed slower cars or cars on different strategies to maximise his strategy e.g. Rosberg, Massa, Petrov etc

Webber:

Went very fast in the best car with new tyres. Good drive but any of the drivers could have done it in the same situation. 18th to 3rd is a nice headline but definitely not as good a drive as Hamilton’s.

A truely knowledgable F1 fan would see this, Coultard gave Hamilton his Driver of the Day, people voting webber are probably just Hamilton haters or don’t really understand what is going on.

22

Well done to Lewis for passing Vettel when his tyres were shot, and Massa and Petrov when they had old rubber on. The only cars he passed on like for like rubber were his team mate and Rosberg who both jumped out of the way if truth be told.

A truly knowable F1 fan would know that and take into consideration the fact that Webber had no KERS and started in 18th.

I’d suggest that you are the one who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

23

Sooooo what you’re saying is, Formula 1 isn’t about strategic racing and overtaking only counts when Mark Webber does it?

Hamilton was utterly sublime, even his biggest detractors can’t question his talent; passing 9 cars on the track and winning the race after only making it onto the grid with 30 seconds to spare.

The fact is: Lewis won in an inferior car, it’s a huge achievement.

24

Well how would you describe some of the drives we saw in China “dufus2”? Webber and Hamilton stood out in a stand out race and, thankfully, some fans aren’t above expressing an affirmative response. I fail to see what there is to ‘LMAO’ about that.

O.S. I’d be saying the same things regardless of the driver. F1 was the biggest winner on Sunday.

25

Bobby – ‘ Lewis won in an inferior car, it’s a huge achievement.’

It’s a huge achievement – congratulations to Hamilton.

But how ‘inferior’ do you think the McLaren is? On a qualifying lap, 0.7 is a huge disadvantage. If Hamilton/Button could snatch pole from Vettel then that would be an OUTSTANDING achievement.

Race pace – pretty even stevens I would say – Red Bull’s KERS issues and the tyre wear/importance of strategy seem to overcome the qualifying gap.

Fans/analysts seem to like overhyping this ‘McLaren inferiority’ thing and make it seem like a mid-field car has got to the front row or won a race.

The McLaren development between end of testing and Melbourne really closed the gap in terms of race pace.

**Paul** – Yes even though I believe Hamilton drove a great race – Button seemed like a frightened rabbit when Hamilton was behind him – and Rosberg had fuel issues. I rate Hamilton extremely highly (despite not being a McLaren fan) but I can’t quite equate the overtake on Jenson with say, Hakkinen on Schumi at Spa..

**Paul** is also spot on to say a superior strategy overcomes an ‘inferior car’. (though we might disagree on how ‘inferior’ the car is)

2011 is going to be the year of strategy. It will be interesting, say in another race with Hamilton on shot tyres and Vettel cruising past if people then start going on about ‘a sublime drive’ or more predictably ‘Well, Hamilton’s tyres were off so it wasn’t a GREAT overtake.’

26

Bobby I was being sarcastic!

Lewis did win in an inferior car but with a superior strategy and whilst passing 9 cars is an achievement I’d hazard an educated guess that Webber passed more without the luxury of KERS. The point being that it’s not always the number of overtakes that matters, but the context and situation of them.

27

I love it how MW fans say “great race Mark, gritty effort”, “great drive”, “kicked butt”, Simple right ?

And LH Fans say, “Sublime drive”, “Masterful stroke”, “Genius at work”.

I just LMAO at this stuff !

28

What you have said here is unbelievable the mclaren is the second fastest car the redbull was in trouble with vettels strategy and webber had a poor grid slot so it was obvious a mclaren was gonna win the race so saying lewis won in an inferior car was disingenuous also like i said earlier if Vettel wins the next race we go back to the season being boring.

29

Forgive me, but your comments are rather hectoring and patronising. Choosing a different driver to the driver you picked does not mean that someone is motivated by a ‘hatred’. I’ll forgive your spelling mistakes of ‘truely’ and-‘coneceur’ but sadly truly knowledgable F1 fans often have different opinions to yourself. Like in any debate, evidence has to be wheeled out and decisions arrived at.

Your ‘evidence’ that Webber’s voters are motivated by hatred and ‘any of the drivers could have done it’ is weak.

Hamilton – was passed by Vettel during the first stint when tyre wear was largely comparable. Also passed by Massa – I am still unclear over this.

– Passed Vettel during his (Hamilton’s) third stint on fresh tyres and Vettel’s were falling off. Ditto Massa – Rosberg was also on a three-stopper but had fuel issues- remember?

Hamilton was on the right strategy and took a deserving win.

You mention Hamilton overtaking ‘without’ DRS – he still HAD DRS to hand – unlike Webber, who had no KERS.

Hamilton, like Webber, was on fresh rubber.

The strategy determined the race – Hamilton’s overtakes, though impressive, were largely down to him being on fresh rubber. 3 stops was a better strategy than 2 stops.

‘Definitely not’ as good a drive – pretty close call I would say.

Yes, I know that doesn’t sit well with fans who only look at F1 through the prism of their beloved driver.

As boring as it sounds, Vettel didn’t not win because he is a less impressive racer/overtaker than Hamilton – it was all down to tyres.

Please allow others to express their choice of driver of the day without ‘hating’ others.

30

Well said

31

I have to agree with you there. Hamilton unfortunately does have a lot of haters who would rather vote for any driver than him.

I agree with your reasoning, and just think it is a shame that Hamilton doesn’t get the credit he truly deserves from so-called F1 fans. Webber had a storming drive, but was in the fastest car on fresh tyres. Hamilton overtook skilfully and where it mattered, plus overtaking your own teammate without DRS, on the same strategy, and without the teammate being asked to move aside is the true test.

Definitely Hamilton!

32

Hamilton:

Overtook his team mate with very similar tyres without DRS.

Caught and passed Vettel for the lead.

Quickly passed slower cars or cars on different strategies to maximise his strategy e.g. Rosberg, Massa, Petrov etc

Webber:

Went very fast in the best car with new tyres. Good drive but any of the drivers could have done it in the same situation. 18th to 3rd is a nice headline but definitely not as good a drive as Hamilton’s.

A true F1 coneceur

33

Has to be Webber by a mile! We all had him written off and he seemed to be going backwards in the first phase, but all of a sudden he came into the reckoning. Whilst Hamilton drove a brilliant race, to some extent the win was gifted to him. Vettel’s poor choice of strategy left him vulnerable in the last few laps and it was like taking candy from a baby. Also the Button faux pas had the effect of losing both Button and Vettel around 3 seconds which coincidentally is about the same as the winning margin.

34

Sure Hamilton brought home the 25 points and helps his chances in the World Championship. But that is not the question, the question is “Who was the driver of the day?” my vote is Mark Webber. I think he was the driver of the day.

35

I gave driver of the day to Mark (very narrowly beating lewis). Based on Kers being worth 7 seconds over a race distance, you’d have to have given him a chance of winning it if he’d had it.

Just a fantastic race wasnt it. The fact that any one of a handful of drivers could be argued to have done drive of the day is testimony.

I can’t recall having seen such an exciting and unpredictable race for a long time.

I see the doubters are out in force in regards false racing, with the DRS, but yesterday so many of the overtakes came about in different parts of the circuit where DRS was not used.

What the tyres situation has introduced is people making mistakes or using too much tyre up in the first stint.

Still trying to get over JB and his pitstop blunder. I bet he gets a bit of banter from the other drivers on that one for time to come.

Anyone/James,

in regards the overfill of Lewis car, perhaps someone can explain flooding. I saw them literally lifting tissue paper out covered in petrol. Where were they lifting it out of? Looked like the airfilter but I’m no techie expert when it comes to engines.

36

Tough one – for me it has to be between Hamilton and Webber. I’ve opted for Hamilton because we know the Red Bull is fast so Mark was always going to get back up there (although getting to a podium was incredible work).

Hamilton had the issue with his car before the race which made me think he probably wouldn’t complete the full 56 laps, but the moment the lights went out he was excellent, and his strategy worked out brilliantly.

Shame Button couldn’t make it work too – I was getting quite excited about a McLaren 1-2 towards the end but it didn’t quite come off.

37

Great race, fantastic driving from Webber and Hamilton. If rated on performance in the race then I would just give it to Webber. Across the weekend, Hamilton did the most complete job.

Now I’m as big a fan of Lewis as anyone else but I do have some slight concerns with his current PR approach. His post-race comments in Malaysia were a bit sulky, which I had no problem with as he’s a full on racer and was onviously gutted to finish so far down. But on the pre-race programme on BBC1 he gave an interview to Jake Humphrey during which he (sort of) apologised for his comments the previous week, and then proceeded to be very critical of the team and some of the strategic decisions they took. Of course after this race he was full of praise for the team, but people do have slightly longer memories. I personally think he needs to remember that as a team sport, Lewis and McLaren win and lose together. As an example, Alonso didn’t slag off Ferrari after Abu Dhabi. Do we detect the new management team at work? Is Lewis being positioned for a move away from McLaren if he fails to win the title again?

Would be interested to hear anyone else’s comments on this. Like I said, I’m a massive Lewis fan, the most exciting and complete racing driver out there, but I was pretty taken aback at how frank he was in criticising the team in that pre-race interview.

38

Tim, I agree, LH driver of the weekend, but Driver of the Day was Mark.

RE: Hamiltons comments, he’s come out with some odd stuff recently, like suggesting Red Bull are just a drinks company (implying he didn’t want to race for a team with no history in the sport). Then there were his comments about Vettel, which I found to be disrespectful of the current world champion (and I believe any WC deserves some respect). Then there was his odd body language after qually on Saturday, where he appeared grumpy and his banter with Vettel came across as slightly whingey, whilst Button saying roughly the same thing was evidently banter. Then we add on the emotion after winning the race, and I’m left puzzeled by what’s going on in his head at present.

You maybe right, he might be wanting a move, but you cannot always have the best car in F1, sometimes you have to work at it. As you say his interview was again really odd, I was shocked. FA’s comments thus far about this car (which isn’t as good!) are no-where near that cutting.

I fear some poor decisions are been taken in the background to what we see on Sunday afternoons.

39

Voted for Hamilton, because he cut the domination of Vettel brilliantly, but Webber also did a good race.

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