F1 Winter Break
Singapore Grand Prix – who was your driver of the day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Sep 2011   |  10:58 pm GMT  |  126 comments

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel may have dominated the Singapore Grand Prix from the front to stand on the brink of his second world title, but there were also plenty of impressive performances from others further down the field. So who was your driver of the day?

Sebastian Vettel
Arrived in Singapore with a mathematical chance of winning the world title, but appeared unfazed by the pressure and produced another storming lap in qualifying to secure his 11th pole position of the season. Made a clean getaway from pole before flying off into the distance. Saw his lead evaporate when the safety car came out but kept his cool to ease away again and score his ninth win of the season, joining Michael Schumacher and Nigel Mansell as the only other drivers to have done so. First time he has led a race from start to finish this season and now just one point away from clinching the world championship.

Jenson Button

Put on the back foot when he couldn’t find reverse gear having almost crashed in Friday practice and thus missed out on 70 minutes of running. Out-qualified his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to start third and made a strong start on race day, jumping Mark Webber into second. Was untroubled thereafter, and even started reeling in Vettel towards the end of the race. Consolidated second place in the drivers’ standings.

Paul di Resta

A dreadful Friday saw him complete just 21 laps thanks to a hydraulics issue, but bounced back in qualifying to start 10th on the grid on his first visit to the track. Controversially didn’t run in Q3 which enabled the team to split the strategies and select what tyre compound they would start the race on. Went for the harder tyre (soft) and ran long in his first stint and managed his tyres well. Great pace in all stints, drove away from Rosberg in final sting to finish sixth – the best result of his F1 career.

Sergio Perez

Agonisingly missed out on the top 10 in qualifying to start 11th on the grid. Started on the super soft tyres and made them last for 15 laps before switching to the primes. Was running comfortably in the top 10 when Michael Schumacher hit him, puncturing his right rear and forcing him to pit. Recovered well and did well to score a point in 10th.

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My vote went to Di Resta followed closely by Button.

Di Resta for keeping his head down and not doing anything stupid when he had an aggressive Hamilton on his tail.

And though Button started chipping away at Vettel too late it would have been impressive to see how close he could have come if it wasn’t for the Williams.


I was wondering – why there’s no best backmarker or something like that category? My vote goes to D’Ambrosio just in case best back-of-the-grid teams/drivers get their separate poll here.


I thought Lewis recovered pretty well to finish 5th after the Massa incident. However, Di Resta was definitely driver of the day for me. He’s showing great signs so far in his rookie season and looks set for a seat in a top team in the upcoming seasons.


It was probably Vettel’s best drive of the year, but I’ll go for di Resta, because I always like to see drivers performing beyond the “expected”. It’s been some time since he drove that well and he needed that. Paul is actually behaving as if he was not a rookie, on and off track. I like that.


Vettel easily. Trouble was after about lap three, we hardly saw any of it.


I really think Vettel ought to be driver of the day for once. As much as he was in the best car, you wouldn’t expect him to lap at least 1 second faster than Button at most stages. Both drivers had clear air on track. If it wasn’t for the safety car he could’ve won by 45 seconds.

I agree di Resta was outstanding especially as he has never raced here before, but in a way I felt the strategy of doing a “Sauber” (2 stopper) helped as well as Sutil letting him through easily in the early stages which meant he can push harder.

Lotus Renault were abysmal. Would be incredible if FI can overtake them for 5th in the Constructors as they have Sauber well beaten now.


(1) Another flawless race from JB. Reading between the lines, it seems likely that he was short-fuelled, with Maclaren hoping for multiple safety cars and it was only in the last 12 or so laps that he was able to let rip. So, impressive to keep SV honest and outrace MW.

(2) Oh dear, oh dear Lewis. It’s the same old story, sniffing around other cars rear ends rather than (or, to be fair, as well as…) making proper overtaking manouevres – from memory, I list: Lewis v Massa (Monza last year), Lewis v Massa (Monaco this year) , Lewis v Maldonado (Monaco this year), Lewis v Webber (Canada this year), Lewis v Button (China this year – not a crash but only because JB jumped out of the way), Lewis v JB (Canada this year), Lewis v Schumacher (Monza this year – not a crash but the same sort of trying to put his nose into a non-gap) – all very similar sorts of misjudgments. They’re all ‘computer game’ / touring car manouevres, where you overtake by nudging up the car in front’s rear quarter.

And then one has to add to that, incidents like Lewis v Kobayashi which was sheer inattention (cf. Lewis on Raikkonen in the pitlane at Canada a few years back) and totally unnecessary episodes like Lewis v Massa in qualifying at Singapore and Lewis v Maldonado in qualifying at Spa (even though mainly Maldonado, Lewis was rightly adjudged to have also been interested in a bit of afters).

Unfortunately, this sort of thing starts to become self-perpetuating. Lewis really needs now a two or three good clean performances in succession otherwise this season will really spiral into the scrapheap.

(3) Schumacher – a shame for Schumi, but a clear misjudgment as he accepted. He would, I think, undoubtedly have got a penalty if his car had not been so dramatically wiped out and/or if Perez’s had not been able to continue relatively unscathed. As it was a reprimand is perhaps on the lenient side, but it doesn’t seem to me like this is any evidence of anti-Lewis favouritism.

(4) Class drive from Di Resta – no question he’s good, and perhaps he’s very good. He certainly seems to have a good racing head in terms of driving to a strategy.


I doubt Diresta would have even gotten a mention had Schuey, doing what he’s paid to do ie overtake moving road blocks (Perez) until they stupdily don’t look in their mirrors, because Schuey would have certainly gotten by Rosberg and been the best of the rest…


It’s a close call for me between di Resta and Vettel, and for me Vettel edges it simply because of the dominance of that performance. He may have the best car, but my word does he know how to use it. That said, di Resta’s was a very intelligent yet fast drive, and I think it cements his reputation as one to look out for in the future. As far as Hamilton warranting drive of the day is concerned, the fact that he ended up in 15th as a result of his own clumsiness (for which a drive-through was warranted – others have received similar penalties this year) is reason enough for his exclusion from the list.


perhaps everyone who thinks Hamilton was the driver of the day for his performance rising from 16th to 5th should have nominated the safety car driver instead, which was the only way Hamilton was able to elevate his standing. James, I’m wondering if a driver has ever been suspended by the FIA for unsafe driving practices? Just how many drive through penalties can one receive before a suspension is issued? Anything in the F1 rules covering this?


I am not impressed by any of the above mentioned. Vettel? Maybe, if he had made up from the middle of the pack. Like Shu in his glory days, alone in the front… almost anyone.

What calls my attention is how we switch from amazing circuits where there’s overtaking, tyre strategy variables and then… limbo. Zero. Tracks like Singapore, Valencia (waterfront) do nothing for the sport. I think we have enough with venues like Hungary and Monaco. Look at the past races, all borefest, safety car, Renault’s crashgate and yesterday Schu’s mistake. Nothing to do with appropiate racecraft. Looks more like Indy. Just a show. Sorry.


Tough to call. Vettel’s got the best car but really made the most of it…loved his thinking in the pitlane!

Paul showed his skill with his best drive to date, but Jenson just gets it for his awesome last stint & fastest lap.

How fit must he be to push that hard at the toughest race of the year? Respect!


Vettel was in a class of his own this weekend.

Di Resta and Button put in great drives, but nothing in comparison to Vettel. I’m worried he is the new Schumacher. (can we stand 5 more years of this?)

That said the last

James, I’m clutching at straws but do you know what Vettel went back to his car for before he went up the the podium? I’m hoping it was to cover up that secret go faster button he’s been running all season!!


Maybe his lucky charm. I think it’s a pig or something like that


Would that be because the pig is the smartest animal there is ? (That’s what Orwell thought anyway). And Seb is outstandingly smart this year.

Actually I thought I saw him go back to the car to kiss it. What’s this one called ? Sexy Susie or something ? You gotta keep the girlfriend sweet.


Di Resta for me too. Very impressed by him now he’s got a dodgy 1st half of the season out of the way…


sounds odd, – perhaps one can consider, LH intentionally rammed Massa, like an answer to his ‘retorts’..


I think James, and the rest of us expect more from Hamilton. Of course he fought well through the field, but this was due to his (yet again) mistake with Massa. He seems to be going through a bad patch right now, but luckily it is in a period where championship is anyway out of reach. Hope he can finally learn from his mistakes, (and the example set by Vettel) Get his head together, AND that Mclaren can produce a car closer to RB’s level next year …


in my humble opinion Massa is the driver of the day (even considering putting Hamilton on the list would be pretty cheeky)… but I must reflect on something else –

‘Does he (Schumi) really have to drive in the middle of the night and fly into the barrier’ – Mediocre ex f1 driver Brundle said today… Schumaher had a good race, and I can’t but comment on the way these ex mediocre f1 drivers and now so called ‘f1 pundits’ on BBC are slurring Schumi, week after a week… they’re openly running this anti Schumi campaign and are too leninet on Hamilton’s mistakes which often leave other drivers’ races completely ruined, yet they are quick to compare Schumaher’s moves two weeks ago to Hamilton’s today when he ruined Masa’s prospects of earning some good points… he was rightly punished, but hey – they opted to slur Schumi and question the stewards’ decison… and Brundle was so glad about Schumacher’s DNF, it could be easily noticed in his sudden swing of mood… pathetic… so I understand all of you who are trigger happy when it comes to Schumaher, you are really under some heavy propaganda…


i’m glad someone else noticed this – not so much on the schumacher thing but i’ll keep an ear out in the future. Hearing them rip into other drivers for mistakes but then patting Hamilton on the head when he does the same or worse. I enjoy their commentary but surely they shouldn’t be so biased…in a perfect world i guess.


The funny thing was brundle and coulthard discussing why he was still competing after he crashed. I wonder if he has ever asked DC why he bothers with DTM also himself as he has said he wants to do le mans next year!!

I just don’t understand there agenda as it’s obvious that he is still competitive and if mercedes build a good car he will win races. No sane man thinks he is as good as he was when he was 30 but he is doing his job and is getting possibly more fulfilment, he certainly looks happier and slightly less serious.


Sorry James, but your site need to allow us 2 votes! One for Vettel, who is in a class of his own and thoroughly deserving everyone’s vote for yesterday’s drive, and one for someone else. For me, that would be Paul, for the same reasons give above. Outstanding display of intelligence, maturity and outright pace yesterday.

I wonder if Martin Whitmarsh is looking at ways he can replace Hamilton with DiResta when contracts allow. A Paul/Jenson line up would be fantastic for McLaren now that Lewis seems intent on proving he has lost his form both on and off track every race weekend.


Di Resta for me. Vettel was flawless and Button drove well but Di Resta was the standout driver for me. It’s one thing to do well in a good car, lead from the front in clean air and I agree Vettel deserves the championship as he hasn’t put a foot wrong. Di Resta on the otherhand was at a racetrack new to him, in his rookie year and not in one of the top cars. He made a different strategy work and stayed out of trouble to bring home a good points haul. I’d say Vettel in second place, Jenson third. Also honorable mention for Heikki who got a good result beating Petrov on pace. Any reason given for this mechanically or was Petrov just really struggling at this track?


PDR definitely. Superb drive. And very well managed by the team too. Sutil let him by as the strategies were different.

Force India seemed to be getting stronger as well. They started the season at par with the Toro Rosso. And they are now well ahead of them and Sauber. With a little bit of luck, they could even snatch 5th place in the constructors from Renault (Nick Heidfeld must be a happy man after yesterday’s race 🙂 )

With the Indian Grand Prix a month away, a strong showing from Force India would be the icing on the cake.


To be fair to you, I don’t think Heidfield could’ve done anything yesterday. The car was just slow. Even one of the Lotus cars beat Petrov. And Petrov was pretty much on same performance with Heidfield.

Don’t know what’s wrong with their car, but I do hope Force India keep the momentum going. This way we get more action and that will put presure on Petrov and Senna.

Looking forward to that.


Had to give it to Vettel. ‘Commanding’ is the word. Button was also excellent and Di Resta put in his best performance of the year to date. They would be my top three.

Thinking back over the race, the standout driver was Hamilton and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him fight through the field. But it was his own fault that he ended up back there, so I wouldn’t consider him for DotD purely on those grounds. Maybe we should have a second award for Entertainer of the Day!


Hamilton or Kobayahi would win most of the time!


Hamilton on the list, *cough*.

Webber should be there before Hamilton.


Di Resta was supperb today, I can see why he beat Vettel in equal cars in the F3 Euro Series. Vettel was brilliant in the first 10 laps but from there on it was pretty much cruise and collect since he had no challenge, helped by Trulli falling asleep at the restart. Button was also very good but he was in no-mans-land, too quick for Alonso/Webber, but not fst enough to race with Vettel.

Then there’s Kovalinen who despite qualifying a second off Petrov, raced with the Renault’s and Torro Rosso’s and even beat Petrov in the end.



Vettel and Button didn’t really do much for their first and second places did they.

Hamilton drove a great recovery to almost cancel out the poor start, silly mistake and stewards bias.

Perez – I only noticed when Schumacher hit him.

DiResta drove intelligently made some good moves got his best race of the season. But there wasn’t a standout performance from anyone.


Depending on the track, some teams are in better shape or worse, the only exception is Vettel’s Red Bull. At Singapour Vettel’s RB was the first, second: McLaren, third: Webber’s RB, Fourth: Ferrari; fifth: Mercedes; sixth: Force India (very tight with MB). From this point of view you can measure if drivers succeded or failed accordingly. RB and McLarens are far away of the rest (Ferrari included). This “little” detail is very often missed for the crowd or those journalists who are alwais hailing “espectacular” moves or other reasons more prosaic.

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