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European Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
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European Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jun 2011   |  9:49 pm GMT  |  142 comments

Sebastian Vettel
Pulled together a near perfect lap to secure his seventh pole position in eight races this season. Made a clean getaway at the start and controlled the race from the front. Though he never pulled out a big gap, the German looked to be driving well within himself all race and never looked troubled as he secured his sixth victory of the season. The win extends his championship lead to 77 points – that’s more than the equivalent of three race victories.

Fernando Alonso
Looked competitive throughout Friday practice and qualified fourth place on the grid. Passed Lewis Hamilton at the start to run third and then began a race long battle with Mark Webber. With the help of the DRS overtaking aid, he passed the Australian on track, but lost that place in the second round of stops. Reclaimed second at the final round of stops to secure second – his third podium of the season.

Mark Webber
Showed good speed in qualifying to finish second fastest alongside pole-sitting team-mate Vettel and made a solid start to maintain his position in the first stint of the race. Gambled on pitting early to put the harder compound tyres on, but it didn’t pay off. Alonso stayed out for two laps longer and jumped him in the stops. Developed a gearbox problem in the dying stages but held on for third.


Jaime Alguersuari
Endured a difficult Friday practice with mechanical problems hampering his running while off-track there was growing speculation surrounding his future at the team. Went out in the first part of qualifying along with the new teams and started 17th. A two-stop strategy and consistent lap times on track saw him rise up to eighth for his second consecutive points finish of the season.

Adrian Sutil
Made it into Q3 but decided not to run in order to save a set of tyres. Starting ninth, Sutil passed Nick Heidfeld at the start. Dropped down as low as 14th after his final stop but fought his way back up into the top-10. Pushed Alguersuari hard with a new set of tyres, but couldn’t find a way past, eventually finishing ninth for his third points finish of the season.


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1

NANDO – for driving balls out to catch Vettel even though it was impossible.

There’s no doubt Vettel is much more calm and composed but still have not caught my eyes as driver of the day.

Come Silverstone I hope Ferrari and McLaren will be much closer to RBR.

A glimmer of hope is all I’m asking for.

2

To me, honestly, boring season…

RBS have the best car ever…

3

Agree with a lot of people here complaining that F1 is no longer ‘racing’ but management of tyres.

On a different note, I desparately want to see VET vs HAM in the same car. It’s what everybody wonders and it’s what everybody wants to see. Settle that one properly. Can’t help thinking it’d be Prost Senna all over again!

4

I think Sutil had the problem of a too low top gear. It sounded as if he was hitting the limiter when he was using DRS on his tries to overtake. Anyone knowing if it was so?

So without it he would probably ranked 8 and should have more votes than the 1.4%.

5

Want exciting racing????

Clean up track of “marbles” to encourage a variety of passing and racing lines

Clean up aerodynamics to reduce turbulence and encourage slipstreaming

Wet weather racing by:

Modifying all current tracks on F1 calender with better drainage / water run off

A more aggressive Super Wet weather tyre

Front windscreen (motor bike style)for wet weather races only

LED headlights mounted with the in car camera

Create more suspense and a variety of strategies by:

Allowing teams to choose ONE TOY ONLY for each race and which is only disclosed to the FIA :

either KERS or DRS

If Kers is available to a car for 1 x 10 second boost, those cars that choose DRS get is also for 1 x 10 second

6

James, are u tempted to look at Schumi’s return in the same perspective as come-back of another legendary ‘Michael’ – Michael Jordan and Wizards ? There are so many similarities. There was so much anticipation before Jordan’s comeback, and immense pressure but except for specks of old brilliance, it was mostly a disappointing 2nd career. I think in retrospect, Schumi’s comeback would probably be looked in the same way.

7

There should be a rule that after you have won a certain number of races you have to stop for a certain number of races as this would make the next number of races more exciting.

8

That happens nowhere in sports, except at the lowest minor league levels. Perhaps there needs to be a loosening of the sporting regulations to allow teams to be able to do more to develop their cars and improve the performance.

9

There’s no doubt that Vettel is a masterful driver, but until the competition have cars of similar agility we will never know just how good. The Red Bull car produces downforce by the bucket load, that in turn then helps Vettel look after his tyres while negotiating medium to high speed corners with comparative ease. Slower cars and that means everybody else producing less downforce will wear their tyres out faster without any help from the driver, because of the lack of downforce and the need to push harder to keep up. While I accept this is a generalisation and there is an optimum amount of downforce that tyres run best at, it is a fact that high degradation tyres signification reduce the latitude that would otherwise give slower cars more of a chance. It is in my opinion a double wammy, and unfair. I think the difference between Vettel and Webber is down to driving style, bad luck, and Vettel’s abilty to get to grips with the Pirelli tyres so quickly.

10

I voted for Fernando Alonso. even though JA did a stellar job. I think that each successive step closer to P1 is exponentially more difficult to achieve than the one before.

In my opinion moving from 4th to 2nd is much more impressive than 17th to 8th. Even accounting for the natural order of things (Hamilton should not have been able to qualify P3, that was an amazing feat) Alonso moving from 3rd to 2nd is more impressive to me that JA’s drive from 17th to 8th.

This may sounds counter-intuitive but I think that the further down the grid you are the easier it is to move up. This isn’t saying that it is easy. JA’s drive is still remarkable, but Alonso’s Ferrari has no business finishing P2. When you start in 17th, luck, pit-strategy and the minor mistakes of other drivers reap greater rewards than when you start P4.

Of course, I am generalizing and different situations arise which invalidate my points, but in this case I think it holds.

11

Although I think the European Grand Prix suffered a bit from expectations after the epic Canadian GP, it certainly showed us how quickly teams adapt to change, and how quickly the revert to status quo. After eliminating race refueling, adding moveable aero devices, and tyres that deliberately degrade a specific rate the place where the top three drivers found a bit of an edge was in the pit stops.

12

Oh, and I voted for Alonso, he’s the driver who came the closest to ending another Vettel slam-dunk. Other than that, even Schumacher’s broken wing and subsequent loss of positions was an all too common eventuality.

13

Vettel was driver of the day in Barcelona and Monaco. Today? Hardly.

I’m giving it to the 2 spaniards, FA and JA.

14

I’m looking forward to the strategy report for this event 😉

The young Spaniard got my vote, particularly because I was giving him some jip last week, in suggesting he was about to be replaced at Torro Rosso. Seb V 2nd, Fernando 3rd.

15

It really is a shame to see FA getting more votes here than Vettel. I dn’t understand why people don’t rate him as the Driver of the Day?

It is not as if he sits in the car and the car does all the driving! You need to put a top notch drive to maintain the first place that he usually has.

Overtaking is not the only metric to rate someone as The Driver of the Race, is it?

I wonder if Hamilton, Alonso or Button were to be leading the championship like Vettel people would rate them on par with Senna or the other greats.

16

I think we all know that Vettel is doing an amazing job, but he doesn’t earn driver of the day in my book. He started first, led comfortably and finished P1. He was able to easily maintain whichever gap he wanted. What Vettel secured for himself today was the race win.

He could have easily ran away with the race, but his engineers give him a target and he stuck to it. They are thinking big picture. Vettel was perfect, but perfect doesn’t warrant “Driver of the Day” to me. Winner, yes, driver of the day, no.

Imagine if I was playing basketball one-on-one against Michael Jordan. In 5 minutes of play, Jordan would easily score 100 points on me, but if just once, just once, I managed to shoot the ball and hit the rim I would feel like I was the player of the century. Player of the century even though the score was still 100-0.

Vettel is doing an amazing job in an amazing car. He is expected to qualify on pole, have the fastest lap and finish in first place. Alonso, Alguersuari, Sutil and others (minus Webber) are outperforming their cars. They elevated themselves to a position that their racing cars do not warrant.

This is the human element of sport. We don’t always see the winner as the best performer. Logically the winner would always be the driver of the day, but the winner is the winner, which deserves it own accolades. Many times the driver of the day is someone who doesn’t even get close to winning, at least as far as I see it.

17

i think that Vettel’s problem is simply that his car is so much better than the others. i know he is beating Webber but does anyone really believe that webber is one of the top 5 drivers on the grid?

if vettel’s car was just slightly better than the ferraris and mclarens and that he had to regularly spend races fending off the opposition then he would get kudos however his car has such an inbuilt speed advantage that as long as he gets a good start he can make up enough distance in clean track and air to mean that he is rarely under real pressure.

it was deeply frustrating listening to the bbc commentary about how wonderful he was at maintaining his tyres without them mentioning once that unlike webber, alonso, hamilton and button he was never having to work them as hard in a defensive or offensive situation. once he was a good distance ahead after a couple of laps he could effectively cruise around on the best racing line and thus take less out of the car (of course that is difficult in itself but easier than having to come from behind with a slower car, no?).

18

I think the FIA need to re-think the off-throttle ban and replace it with an Adrian Newey ban.

This has gone on for too long now. Adrian has been ruining championships for nearly 2 decades and with 3 separate teams.

Of course this is tongue in cheek.

Adrian, you are the finest engineer ever to have graced the sport that you love. You have conquered everything but please hang-up your pencil, as it’s just not fair for the others.

Unfortunately, there is a World Drivers’ Championship to consider and it’s just a bit of a sham with such an advantage.

Anyway, I’m sure Adrian won’t retire, in which case get Hamilton to Red Bull sharpish, so at least then we’ll get to see how fast Vettel really is.

19

Just as an aside, am I the only one who feels that everyone else should just go BANZAI on Vettel. As in if you get anywhere near him (not neccesarily one second) just throw one up the inside.

Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Button need to get into Vettels head. Honestly they don’t have much to lose, history shows people only remember who comes first.His confidence is a factor that’s helping him win, if you put a target on his back and make him very aware of it by constantly taking shots it will rattle him!!

I guess my thinking comes from Alonso in Monaco along the lines of “I have nothing to lose, if we crash we crash”

I loved that he said it

20

I think in Monaco it was just a saying… I think after Silverstone it may be action.

I hope we see Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Massa putting their cars on the offensive. Make Vettel decide to turn in and contact or let the others through.

If Vettel is smart, he will qualify P1 and finish P5.

21

agreed, only one problem, they need to catch up with him before they throw one up the inside!

22

They could wait for being lapped, as Barcelona showed, it is possible.

23

Jamie for me – not only was it the in car performance of the day but his after race comments to the BBC regarding his seat were insightful, mature and intelligent. I hope that the experience he’s picking up isn’t just cast aside and wasted.

24

James,

I was wondering if the difference we are seeing between Vettel and Webber this year is due to kers. Since Vettel is lighter than Webber does this give him more ballast to move around (and balance the car better) whilst Webber appears to struggle more with rear tyre degredation?

25

Definitely Alguersuari for me. He put in a great drive under pressure, very mature for such a young driver. With high track temperatures and an expectant home crowd, he could’ve easily overdriven and taken too much out of his tyres.

Elsewhere, I thought Alonso and Hamilton both did well to finish ahead of cars with superior race pace. Conversely Webber and Massa should be slightly disappointed with where they finished. Button did as well as could be expected, although he wasn’t helped by another signature Jenson Button start – a half-hearted early move that sees him boxed in or forced off the throttle.

26

Yes, Jamie certainly did a good job moving up the order.

However, this could possibly have been the race where Vettel extended his championship lead out of reach the other title contenders.

Whilst I recognise Jamie’s excellent performance yesterday it looks very much like Seb will be double WC by season end. Have to admire the RB driver + car package this year.

27

My driver of the day was Martin Brundle, for somehow managing to stay awake while commentating.

28

Lord, I hate voting for Alonso, and I usually say he can’t overtake. Well his moves at the start and the move he put on Webber go some way to disprove that. His was the best performance in the dullest race of the season so far. I actually fell asleep before the end.

Most interesting events were Brundle’s comment about Maldanardo joining from another track and Hamilton’s Radio messages first “I can’t go any slower” and then “I can’t go any faster”. Otherwise I could have watch the face of Ceefax.

29

Alonso most certainly can overtake! I think he is more of a reserved, calculating driver than others.

Alonso won his WDCs by gaining the maximum available points. We the win was not attainable, he pushed as hard as he needed to secure maximum points.

I can’t wait for Silverstone and on… I think Alonso will be a man on fire. Once he knows he has nothing to lose I suspect he will be hanging it out. Unless Ferrari want to secure maximum points for the money.

30

I think Suzuka 2005 proved alonso can overtake and many many since and before then.

31

er that should have ended… I could have watched the Race oN Ceefax.

32

“I could have watch the face of Ceefax.”

Surely this is one of the greatest phrases ever commited to ascii?

33

Vettel, no doubt about it!

34

I voted for alonso because i think he outdrove his car and gave me a glimmer of hope that ferrari will find their form and really start piling on the pressure with red bull (i think they will be the only challengers because i can see mclaren going backwards from silverstone onwards). One other point, when voting for drivers of the day let’s not forget about the smaller teams. liuzzi and karthikeyan both managed to finish a grand prix in that dog of a car so for that i reckon they were the real drivers of the day 🙂

35

Yes please. Want to see Ferrari back at the front challenging.

Alonso is one of the most tenacious drivers on the grid today. Would love to see him wheel to wheel with Seb and Lewis (car permitting).

36

For me, that one was Vettel’s.

What surprises me is the number of contributors that have suggested they might not watch the remaining races because of his dominant results this year, yet we have had so many stunning races in 2011. Sure, the WDC is the long game but are the individual races not what we actually watch?

Moreover (to the older werewolf), we have just been joyfully celebrating the centenary of arguably the greatest driver ever, Juan Manuel Fangio; and on this very forum, there were passionate and some well argued suggestions that Michael Schumacher deserves the tag. What cannot be argued is that both were the dominant drivers of their era and both deserve the label of great.

Are (certain) people suggesting we should no longer apppreciate truely great drivers and do not need them of the present generation?

I am not, incidentally, making a case at this stage as to whether or not Vettel is actually a great, as this remains to be seen.

37

I guess it depends upon how long you’ve been watching F1? I’ve been watching since the late 70’s and I love it all, even a race as “dull” as the Valencia event (I say “dull” in quotes, as I didn’t find it that dull, but in comparison to early races this season you could call it that).

If every race were to be like the Valencia event then you’d get masses turning away from the sport, but they’ve got to recognise that on occasion a team can find an advantage, keep it (for a time) and thus appear to dominate. Seb would have dominated last year too, if it weren’t for RBR’s early unreliability.

38

It’s the same for everyone and there is great skill in preserving tyres while still going quickly. The 1980s and 1990s were all about that too.

39

This is precisely where todays F1 has not been thought through properly. – It is not the same for everyone! Slower cars actually suffer a double wammy in this seasons high degradation tyre scenerios. Given the supremcy of the Red Bull car with extremely high downforce, slower cars that are less agile have to push harder to try to make up the deficit, and as a consequence of that wear their tyre out even quicker. That being the case it is all to easy for Vettel to set a fast lap to take pole and control the race thereon in. If the tyres were more durable drivers like Hamilton and Alonso that can really race would stand more of a chance. – I’m afraid it is just not F1 racing anymore despite the increased spectacle for the viwing public as it has become sanitised by the need to look after tyres in what is a tyre strategy contest.

40

I was very interested to see Jaime being interviewed on BBC.

It just reminds me how young the guy is, and what a ridicolously bad decision dumping him now would be.

F1 for too long now has been far to cut throat (i.e the binning of the undoubtedly talented Grosjean).

I hope to see him given the time to develop.

I have to say though, the Valencia GP could not even be made exciting by the excellent contribution of Pirelli this year. It is about time they put a French GP back on the calendar, and dropped one of the borefests from Spain. Along with bahrain, two of my least fav GPs of the year.

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