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Malaysian Grand Prix – Who was the Driver of the Day?
Malaysian Grand Prix – Who was the Driver of the Day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Apr 2011   |  2:19 pm GMT  |  228 comments

It was an all action race today in Malaysia with some great performances from a number of drivers. So who was your Driver of the Day?

Sebastian Vettel
Took pole under pressure from Hamilton, also held the lead at the start under pressure from him. After that he managed the race brilliantly coping with no KERS, maintaining his tyres and his engine. Has led 109 of the 114 laps in 2011

Jenson Button
Started fourth on the grid and held it at the start. Battled with Alonso and Hamilton in the race and got ahead of both through pit strategy. Was faster on the hard tyre at the end. Did a great job to make the most of the tyres and the tactics -and his rivals’ problems – to take second place today.

Nick Heidfeld
Qualified sixth and had a sensational start, moving up to second place, which was the platform for his podium finish today. Managed his race very well with a three stop strategy and used the solid performance of the Renault in race conditions, which is stronger than in qualifying.

Kamui Kobayashi
Started 10th, finished seventh. Another stellar and thoroughly entertaining performance from the fans’ favourite. Some tremedous overtaking. But he showed his versatility too by using the Sauber’s gentle action on the tyres to manage a two stop strategy – the only driver in the top ten to manage it.

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Schumi for his excellent start ( which he did many times last year ).

Such a shame Schumacher is wasting the few comeback years that he has left with a pretty hopeless team. Same applies to Nico wasting his talent. Let’s hope somehow they can improve.

As for Vettel and the ” no Kers ” thing, i suspect that was a little wind up for Mclaren etc, meaning – look how fast we are even without Kers. All the messages to Vettel were coded and the suddenly we have the uncoded Kers message which Vettel later asked them to clarify . Very suspect.


I voted Heidfeld however quite a few drivers would deserve this today: Vettel, Webber, Button and Kobayashi to name a few.

600 people have chosen this OTHER SPECIFY option. It would be interesting to know what drivers were mentioned.


@ James – ok, in order to cut back on all the Fanboy complaints about why their guy wasn’t even on the list, why not just list them *all on the Ballot next time?

That’d make this thread about half as long, and twice as on-point.


Hey Rich, there’s plenty of LH and JB Fanboys here as well. You can take that to the bank.


I voted for Webber and I want Vettel to win WDC so will this make me Vettel fan-boy or Webber fan-boy or a serious F1 fan? Not every one is illogical not to think well.


I can’t believe sakon Yamamoto isn’t in the list !



Can we also include Kubica for the what ifs!


Sorry, that last part should read:

in addition to overtaking more drivers than any other in the field.



no-one seems to mention that he dropped back down to 6th or 7th after a bodged first stop, and fought his way back up by looking after his tyres whilst managing to be consistently quick.


It’s official, KERS saved Vettel’s race (see link below).

Without it(KERS), Webber lost his chance to win.

Mark nailed the fastest lap, while overtaking more drivers than any other in the field.


If Red Bull ever figures out their KERS it’s going to be a really long season for everyone else.


Heidfeld. Sensational start.


The “Driver of the Day” is a tougher choice than it seems. Nick Heidfeld surprised us all with his podium finish despite no retirements from the so called “big boys”- so he would be the obvious choice.

However, the Lotus Renault team is very strong (ahead of Ferrari even), so I am not sure if this 3rd place finish reflects the least amount of points they deserved. We all are left pondering whether Kubica would have given Vettel a real fight for the win.

For me the Drive of the Day has to go to Vettel. He had problems with the KERS not working sporadically during the race and consequently had to carry the extra load on the car for a device thats not even functioning.

He was losing ground to Hamilton in the middle part of the race only to keep his cool. He controlled the race brilliantly- in every way, and I think Webber would have struggled to keep up with him- despite his KERS not working at all,…… but I give Webber a lot of credit for recovering to finish a good 4th place after his inital struggles. But having said that, Vettel was the man to beat


“Vettel had problems with KERS not working sporadically”…..I don’t think that is the case.

When Hamilton closed to within 4secs of vettel,

SV immediately opened the gap back to 8secs. Without KERS working?

The McL KERS was OK but was just not as fast as the RB.

The message to Vettel from RB about not using the KERS any more was undoubtedly a ‘spoof’ to get McL pushing harder, with the associated tyre & mechanical problems that could bring.

It is noticeable that when SV & Christian Horner were asked about KERS, separately, they BOTH went into slightly shifty mode !


“The message to Vettel from RB about not using the KERS any more was undoubtedly a ’spoof’ to get McL pushing harder, with the associated tyre & mechanical problems that could bring.”

I support that theory.


The thought of that the radio message of the KERS not working by RB was a conniving trick to suss their rivals into pushing Vettel harder is a very interesting one- to be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind. I am not going to rule it out, but that would be just pure genius LOL!


How in Gods name is Webber not on that list? Kobayashi”s a better drive than Webber? You have to be kidding.

Brundle tried to tell us Webber bogged in and now JA does not even rate an amazing drive. If Schumacher had of completed the same drive that Webber did yesterday the press would be gushing in their praise. Once again, Webber receives no respect.


+1 for Webber.

Good to see some finally see some MW aggression both in the cockpit and in the pit-strategy. If only he could stick it on pole and make a decent start…

Q. Is MW still in partnership with Horner at MW Arden ? If so, tends to pour a bit of cold water onto the consipracy theorists ! P’haps the true conspiracy is that Horner, Seb and MW are deliberately saying things to get the conspiracy theorists typing about them?


James, I have a question for you regarding Lewis’ drive.

I’m quite convinced through all these years that Lewis Hamilton doesn’t manage his tyres as well as Button, Raikkonen or Alonso through foregone examples like Turkey 2007. Yes, the Pirellis are still in their infancy stage to perform a postmortem but don’t you think Lewis was never in a position to challenge Seb once the latter got a clean getaway? This is contrary to the pro-Lewis sentiments here which say he was crippled by a bad McLaren strategy. I beg to differ as Lewis was the earliest to pit in each stage underlying how fast the degradation was on his set of Pirellis compared to Button and Vettel.

Lewis, after Melbourne, was quick to scream that he was better than Vettel in managing his tyres but the evidences you get don’t seem to abide. What’s your take on this? Is Hamilton set to suffer in 2011 because of his erratic style?



this has to be one of Lewis’ worst drives. This was a race he should have been challenging Vettel for the win. He looks a bit silly after saying he could manage his tyres better than others.

However, it should be said, Mclaren pitted him early for strategy, to ensure he was free of traffic not because his tyres were going away from him. I can’t understand Mclaren’s record of going against Lewis’ style and handing him race strategies better suited to his team-mate. This is another day Lewis is thinking, thanks a lot guys you really messed this up, again. Perhaps I’ll be better off elsewhere…. I’m sure the anti-Lewis crew would have loved to hear some of the radio talk between Lewis and his team during the race

You comfortably outqualify your team-mate and end up over 35 seconds adrift in the race??? Even with Mclaren’s bad calls Lewis should have coped better. Having to pit 3 laps from the end?? Wtf? .Just when you think Lewis is on the cusp of something brillant, i.e. the class driver of the field, he messes it up.


I’d give driver of the day to Webber. Storming drive to 4th without KERS and that pass on Massa round the outside was sublime.

Hey James do you know if Mark had a KERS problem in Q3 or was it just a less than perfect last lap that resulted in Mark’s .2 gap to Seb?


I like Kobayashi a lot.

But, while he is excellent value for overtaking and definitely one of the better passers on the grid, his defending is woeful. He basically doesn’t do any, and allows people to pass with ease.

The good news is that it means he has someone to overtake again, but he really needs to work on that!


The KK philosophy is defending in the end just slows you down.

What’s the point in nakering your tyres and going off the racing line just to keep one guy behind you, only for three others to jump him in the pitstops.


From the choices we have been given by JA, my head says Vettel, but my heart says Nick.

I know Seb did a start to finish dominant win kind-of-thing, but somehow, I think stepping into a Renault with just a few days notice and taking it to a podium in your second race takes a bit more of an edge than cruising around in the pre-eminent car of the day, even without KERS.

Also, I’m impressed by the number of people here who have nominated Webber.


Its between Webber and Kobayashi for me. James, on a side note…what is your opinion on Alonso being penalized for his collision with Hamilton? In my opinion it is a little odd…because he didn’t damage the car infront of him at all…It was slight contact while trying to overtake (infact both cars moved at the contact) and he already had to come in for a new wing. It seems to me like there are many races where people have some contact and lose part of a front wing…they don’t get penalized at all. What do you think?


I think it’s a shame both were penalised as that’s the kind of racing we want to see. It won’t put them off though, they are both racers.


I agree very much with this, James. It’s very unfortunate that they got penalised. I have yet to watch a replay of why Hamilton got his penalty, but I remember the Alonso incident clearly, and it seems very unfair to punish him for that.

It wasn’t as if it was just a lunge down the inside of a braking zone – it was a tiny misjudgment that cost him alone. Quite unusual for him to make that kind of misjudgment, too.

This also creates a headache for the stewards in subesequent races, too, in that they must now be consistent with this penalty for future similar incidents.



Kamui for me but there were many good drives yesterday such as Webber, Vettel, Button, Nick & Di Resta.

Would like to point out that last year Webber suffered no mechanical retirements at all. This year he’s had a few problems. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes F1 cars go wrong, it doesn’t have to be sabotage.



one thing I can’t quite understand is the rake of the RB7.

I can imagine that the aggressive rake puts more air pressure onto the floor (increased angle of attack), but doesnt it mean the rear of the car is higher off the ground, thus reducing the effectiveness of the diffuser?

Or does it actually increase the volume of the diffuser area?

I can’t pretend to know about these things…, thanks, Andy


Rake increases aero downforce…(I think)

I can’t pretend to know about these things either!


Adrian has been “that good” for some time now 😉


Sorry Jenson, but i vote the other Buttons as driver of the day.
For me the race looked like: am i allowed to press the wing/kers buttons and if i do, will they work as they should. Kobayashi did a lot of overtaking, but seeing that Schumacher went to pits same round, ….

It was nice to watch with all the action-mainly because of the fail-functions in the systems, but i think it somehow killed this ‘driver of the race thing’. How can we compare if half the cars had mail functions in the buttons or new tires versus old.

Heidfeld had no problems with the wing/kers buttons, Button had only problems with a single button called Jenson, ….
Hamilton had functioning kers and wings, Alonso no wings,…

I think if i would have to choose: Heidfeld, just for the what if at start, what if he had got Vettel at the start too.


The Red Bulls must have something illegal about them to be so quick,Lewis has the 80hp advantage of KERS & he can’t get anywhere near the soda pop car,Adrian Newey’s really good,but not that good,bent wings anyone.

So it would have to be Heidfeld’s day IMO.He drove a very solid race after the aberration of Aust.


By far Kamui. His speed and consistency and very impressive. I think he has the smartest approach to racing of all the drivers:

– in melbourne he clearly stated he didnt attack to much to learn the tyres

– yesterday picked his battles very wisely, letting faster cars through as to not ruin his strategy, but fighting when required

If he keeps going like this he will require a better car next season. Heidfeld and Kamui at renault for next year!


A difficult one to call as there was no really outstanding drive but quite a few who drove commendably. I’ve gone for Heidfeld but could easily have opted for Kobay (or di Resta had you included him).

Few really stupid moves for a change, Alonso being the worst and that was little more than a misjudgement. It would appear he didn’t realise just how much LH’s car was affected.

And enjoyable race mainly, I feel, because there was so many good drives.


I agree, I am an Alonso fan, but he did not (or the team) didnt realize that Hamilton was very affected.


Whats the buzz abt heidfeld. Come on after his great start he kept going downhill. On the otjer hand alonso rung laptimes outta his car n nearly got a podium in a shabby 150. N yeah koba was good as usual. Vettel wa superb n i was also impressed by di resta. Still cant quite undrstnd why many of u hv gone for quick nick


Easy. Mark Webber. No KERS. Drops to 9th after the first few corners, then is defenseless against Kamui due to having no KERS, and Kamui having DRS AND KERS. He’s down in 10th place after a few laps, and seemingly out of the race completely unless it rains, because he has the straightline speed of a Virgin without KERS.

Then he pits early, and after less than 10 laps into the race, he’s back in 17th position behind the Team Lotuses. Webber’s second stint was something akin to a Senna charge in the wet. He was taking no prisoners and overtook half a dozen cars in this stint.

He managed to beat Felipe Massa despite doing an extra pitstop, due to overtake of the day. Webber showed immaculate racecraft, the stuff we have never seen boring Vettel (who is a true Felipe Massa – that is, struggles to win from anywhere unless he is first round the first corner).

Webber – what a drive with no KERS. News also in. Vettel was given new parts just before quali which Mark did not get. Great drive from Webber, from a team which clearly wants to put distance between Vettel and Webber early in the season, to avoid any team conflict.

No.1 – Mark Webber

No.2 – Nick Heidfeld

No.3 – Jenson Button

No.4 – No. Last – The Rest

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