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Bahrain Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Apr 2012   |  12:05 am GMT  |  210 comments

Red Bull Sebastian Vettel finally got his first victory of 2012 after being run close by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen in an action-packed Bahrain Grand Prix. Who was your driver of the day?

Sebastian Vettel

After using the old-spec Red Bull in China, Vettel switched to the new package in Bahrain and looked strong in Friday practice. Almost got knocked out in Q1 and Q2 but got everything together in the shoot-out to take a shock pole position for the first time in 2012. Made a clean getaway and then pulled out a gap early on which allowed him to control the race. Resisted pressure from Raikkonen in the penultimate stint to stay in front and score his first win of the season and 22nd of his career to take the lead of the drivers’ standings.

Kimi Raikkonen

Qualified 11th but by missing out on Q3 saved an extra set of tyres which would allow him to start every stint in the race on fresh tyres. A disappointing start saw the Finn drop behind both Ferraris, but the Lotus, which had a new rear wing, floor and barge boards in Bahrain, looked fast and consistent in race trim. The Finn battled through the field, passing his team-mate Romain Grosjean for second before setting off in pursuit of leader Vettel. Put the German under pressure but couldn’t find a way and ultimately settled for second, his first podium four races into his return to the sport.

Romain Grosjean

Out-qualified Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to start seventh and start on the clean side of the grid. Made a great start, making several places and then battling Mark Webber for third early on. Rose as high as second with a supreme move around the outside of Lewis Hamilton and pegged the gap to leader Vettel. Could do little about Raikkonen’s pace and the Finn duly passed him. But the Frenchman looked after his tyres well and finished a strong third, the first podium of his career and the first for a Frenchman since Jean Alesi in the Belgian Grand Prix in 1998.

Paul di Resta

Missed second practice after the team decided to leave the track early so they could return to their hotel in daylight but made up for lost time with an extended programme in final practice. Made it into Q3, but didn’t complete a lap so that he could save tyres. Started 10th and showed that his Force India could look after its tyres as he made a two-stop strategy work. Ran as high as fifth before dropping a place when Nico Rosberg passed him on fresher tyres. Managed to defend his sixth place from Fernando Alonso on the last lap to equal his best ever finish.

Felipe Massa

Arrived in Bahrain having failed to score a point in the first three races. Showed encouraging pace compared to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso in practice. Missed out on Q3 by just over a tenth of a second and started the race 14th. An electric start saw him rise up to seventh in the opening laps. From then on, managed to match his team-mate for pace and though he faded, he only finished seven seconds, and two places, behind Alonso in ninth which is a distinct improvement based on the season so far.


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1

poll not pole

2

I voted Kimi he brings an exciting blend of talent and controlled agression in the car and so cool out of the car lol. He even acknowledged his teamate as he passed him at the finish of the main straight. Paul Diresta gets the second vote a mature and great performance. What a season so far bring it on !!

3

Bit off topic but does anyone think Sky’s David Croft makes quite a lot of mistakes? Every race so far I think. And more than one mistake per race. He sometimes blames lack of graphic but you can spot the drivers from the car + helmet (besides Vettel most use the same). I do like the Brundle/Croft combo but I think Croft needs to polish up his act, he’s meant to be a professional afterall.

4

Good to see Kimi on the podium and Lotus (Renault) do well. Always been a fan of Kimi and his driving approach. Good to see Webber get a good start off the line (without KERS) and secure 4th place. Also, Massa showed some of his old skills, so hopefully this may turn things around for him. Amazing how varying temperature plays such a massive part in engine and tyre performance. Dare say the Renault powered teams are praying for sunny days ahead. Will be interesting to see what the pecking order is after the next round of tests in May and updates to cars, which will no doubt change everything again. 3 drivers within 5 points for the Championship….can’t wait for Spain !

5

James, is there any significance to the 1st four places being Renault powered cars?

Ferrari said before Bahrain, that this circuit would be a poor one for them. Is there something within the Renault’s performance that suits the circuits characteristics?

In China, Mercedes and Mclaren were the dominant cars, both Merc powered of course.

6

Rosberg’s team radio at the end said he had a cracked exhaust, and isn’t that what happened with Button? The ultra-reliable McLaren (from winter testing) hasn’t been that reliable in the four flyaways.

7

I think its a sad state of affairs that Massa should even make the shortlist for Driver of hte Day for coming in 9th. sure it was his best performance of the year, but thats not exactly difficult after the previous races this season

8

Kimi – without a doubt

James , is Kimi the most popular of the present day drivers – his comeback can only be good for the sport – what do you think?

9

He certainky has a huge fan base.mnotvsure if he’s most popular

10

throughout the globe….Kimi has the biggest fans base all around the world~!! Alonso and Lewis are more of a homesoil kids with huge support from their native~~ well finland is too small to overcome that number, nevertheless the globe loves him =)

11

Vettel I guess….

I really object to all this praise on the Lotus drivers, they only performed well because their cars worked on these ridiculous 2012 Pirelli’s.

The only drivers that out performed their team mates were Vettel and Di Resta and this is only because they managed their tyres better. I couldn’t care less who managed their tyres better, I want to see the fastest drivers out performing their cars – clearly on these current tyres drivers are unable to do this.

All this praise for Raikkonen’s 2nd place is a distraction, the race was a farce in my opinion.

12

“I really object to all this praise on the Lotus drivers, they only performed well because their cars worked on these ridiculous 2012 Pirelli’s.”

This age old-debate of man and machine never ends, right? How can you prove that Vettel’s was not due to the car (to let you know: Vettel and Webber do not have the same car either)? It is better then to not vote for anyone if you don’t know whether it is due to car or due to the driver.

13

Andrew,Sri

Vettel and Webber do have the same car.

So we cannot say Vettel won because of car as his teammate was behind both the Lotus cars.

Lotus drivers were 2 and 3. Kimi only beat his teammate to be 2nd(although starting 11th in a faster car with more new tires left).

Vettel also beat the fast Lotus cars.

14

I didn’t vote for anyone, it is a ridiculous poll. Any of the other drivers could have been driver of the day, it is virtually impossible to tell who is outperforming their car when the opertating conditions for these new tyres are so limited. It is vitually impossible for the fastest drivers to shine.

Vettel’s drive looked good but so far this season everybody that has led into the first corner has won apart from Hamilton in Malaysia (where the restart and rain massively effected the outcome). This is obviously because it is much easier to manage the tyres in clean air.

So much for this “new exciting F1”, pole position is more crucial than ever as anybody behind another car is at a huge dissadvantage.

15

Can’t say enough about Kimi’s drive… part of me is a little miffed they did not get Romain out of his way while his tires were fresh to go after Seb sooner. on the other hand 2nd and 3rd is a lot of points for Lotus and perhaps next go they will be more agresive in strategy

16

Absolutely Kimi then daylight to the next driver.Honestly he made everyone look like amateurs out there. That was beautiful to watch- controlled aggression that maybe only Alonso sometimes has.

As for Mercedes- how on earth can they get away with that. If that were Hamilton he would get 20 sec for each incident. Must be Ross Brawn magic tongue to officials again!

17

elie, post 71 explains the tyres situation perfectly.

As to your point about Kimi’s controlled aggression, only Alonso displays it all the time.

With Kimi it’s on occasion.

18

I dont doubt Schumacher was great. He WAS my favourite. But ANY driver who does what he did to Damon Hill, Jacqies Villeneuve, and more recently Rubens Barichello -is low and should not be allowed on a race track.!

When Kimi came to F1 he was (and remains) a breathe of fresh air.! No BS, unbelievably aggressive, smooth, fair and has remained so. Same for Fernando I can hardly split them but Kimi is better at passi.ng than anyone

19

Definitely Kimi does not show emotion is a little annoying at times. But I dont doubt his passion for the sport. Look up Hamilton & Kimi at Spa 2008? On utube. These two are the best overtakers in the business, and in terms of raw natural speed they are the fastest. Agree Fernando is likely just as quick–I dont think any other drivers have their tenacity skill..Webber -no chance, he will always get beaten in a dual Seb will beat him from now on you watch now that he has sorted out set up on RB-8

20

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYKtqJZhq2g

Listen to the commentary, even James was exclaiming out loud. This to me is the best pass I’ve ever seen.

Renault’s telemetry showed Alonso’s entry speed into this corner was 208mph, and that was against Schumacher.

Personally I feel Alonso, Hamilton and Webber are better overtakers, but everyone has different ideas.

I don’t disagree with your comments regarding Kimi, but personally I like someone who is a little more passionate about a sport I love.

Watch any football match and witness a team after scoring a goal. The crowd ( us ) goes absolutely crazy and the players run around like lunatics, lol.

I don’t follow football but have the same outpouring of emotion watching F1. I want to see the driver express himself and show he shares the same emotion as us. I watched Kimi for 3 years at Ferrari and always felt that his non BS attitude, whilst admirable none too endearing.

21

I hear you on the tyres but to pass 9 of the best inc your quick team mate on the high deg track and to make it seem so easy. Even Schumi feared Kimi when he was winning- drivers know who is the best.

I dont get how people go Sebastian when he started on pole and nearly got passed by 11th!. Yes he did win but this is about drives. Huge rap on Di Resta drive also.

As for Why Maclaren would sign Kimi-he is much faster than Jenson & he won races forMclaren when Nobody could.

Think Lotus will be consistent next year anyway- he should stay.

22

who cares schumi identify whom as his successor?? i dont give a crap to these things~~ deep down we all know kimi is great driver with the best natural talent ever, he nvr plays tricks, always fair on the track, and nvr bother about PR activity as his job is to race. The true racer compare to the rest on the grid~~

23

elie, you may want to read James book about Schumacher “the edge on greatness”

Schumacher respected Kimi and Montoya etc, but it was when Alonso was testing for Renault in 2002, not race-driving, that when asked, Schumacher identified him as the one he feared.

I’d read that in interviews myself back in 2001 and 2002, but the book reminded me.

In the same way, Senna identified Schumacher as he heir in 1991/92, not Hakkinen, or any other driver.

24

you dont finished 2nd from 11th with fresh sets of tyres solely…..dont forget his front wing was damaged, and the technical director spotted a drop in aero performance….or else he could hv enough speed to nail that move on vettel~~~

25

Maybe, maybe not.

Webber finished 3rd in China last year after starting 18th.

26

Lotus certainly looked sharp in the race and may have been the best car on the day. Kimi did have to come up through the field, but he also had fresh tires each each round. As we saw last year, in some races with fast tire degradation, this can be a significant advantage.

So, it is hard to pick between the top three for this one. I know a lot of people here are against Vettel, but he drove very well under pressure. Kimi had an intelligent and agressive race, and Romain broke through. I wilsh I could vote for all three. At the end of the day, I chose Vettel. Defending under pressure is a real challenge.

27

Must be Massa for me… impressed me a lot this race, and shown that he can still do it when he gets his act together. Also laughed at Brundle’s dry “Felipe is faster than you” comment.

28

If he impressed you, then I guess you’re still overwhelmed by Kimi/Grosjean/DiResta and cannot even type how you feel!!!

29

Massa? WHAT? For being half a second off alonso’s pace in qualy and 2 places behind in the race? come on!!!

30

Kimi all the way for me… but there were drives that were better than Massa, I can’t even contemplate how he made the shortlist.

*MSC had a pretty decent drive from 22nd to 10th.

*LH pulled off some great passes and looked much faster than his team mate despite Mclaren doing their best to riddle their collective feet with bullets.

31

Vettel! Hat-Trick!!!

32

Kimi, driver of the day for sure. Only 4th race on his comeback and he’s driving like he’s never been away for two years.

True to his words, he made it to the podium and was honest and candid enough to admit to his errors which cost him the win.

Kimi’s back where he belongs. Let’s hope Lotus keep up with developments to provide him a winning car.

My 2nd vote goes to Di Resta for making a 2 stopper work, fighting off Alonso right to the very end. Good drive, Paul.

33

Kimi broke my heart. Would have been happy if he had won. He overtook more cars in this one race than his entire last year of racing.

34

Kimi. The fresh tyres gave him the edge, but he still had to come through the field.

Vettel impressive but far easier to keep the tyres in shape when you’re leading. Only came under real pressure for a few laps; on similar tyres, last stint, the Renault didn’t have an advantage.

Honourable mention for Di Riesta.

35

I think too many people vote for their favourite driver rather than the one that actually did the best! So if you ask the question, who achieved most out of the machinery available it has to be DiResta! The Lotus was clearly very good this weekend but was Kimi that much more special as his rookie team mate finished only seconds behind? Kimi has a big fan base; say no more!

36

go watch the race and say no more

37

I voted for Paul di Resta. Although the who, by leaving his first pot stop very late actually led the race for one lap, as did Grojean.

My absolute driving hero of the day is the Manama taxi driver who got all those fans to the circuit. How else could all those alleged 28000 fans have got to the circuit. Aerial photos of the circuit on Sunday show the car parks, behind the main grandstand, to be almost empty.

By the way James what colour was the wristband worn by the spectators? Was it bright green as shown in the FOM photos of a packed grandstand?

Photos of Button climbing into his car on the grid show a half empty grandstand in the background

38

Not sure what aerial photos you looked at, but my view across the car parks from the grandstand was that there were many cars there. 28,000 isn’t just over a quarter of the Silverstone crowd

39

Kimi driver of the day no question .

James of the the upcoming tracks which one would you fancy a kimi/lotus win at ?

Im thinking montreal as it is usually safety car affected which will not let vettel/hamilton build up a huge lead early on. any thoughts ?

40

I think they are quite quick everywhere, especially warm locations. Depends on the rate of development of them and rivals

41

Well, I guess that’s pretty unanimous then! Kimi was fantastic. I can’t remember the last time there was an exciting chase down for the lead under normal conditions (by that I mean no rain or other factors like Buttons win in Canada, Hamiltons in China etc). Someone will no doubt say there was one not long ago but it feels like ages, most of the exciting battles have been midfield.

Grosjean was also good, good pace and mature driving. Di Riesta also deserves an honorable mention, he drove a very mature race. He chose not to fight when Webber passed him, although yes that probably denied us the potential battle but it was inevitable that Webber was going to pass so why loose more time fending him off, excellent drive.

Never thought I would say this but that was quite an exciting Bahrain GP!

42

Drive of the day has to be Webber. Held his position to Turn 1 and didn’t lose a spot on Lap 1…..as good as a win isn’t it?

Seriously, i would have to go with Vettel. Kimi did a great job but he did have 3 sets of unused tyres. I think sometimes we lose the impact of these fresh sets especially with the closeness of cars this year.

Vettels first 3 laps where he drove away from Hamilton cemented his win. Over in 3 laps. And faultless.

44

Di Resta got my vote. Mature and thoughtful driving was required to make the strategy work.

Something ominous about Vettel’s weekend. Great pole lap on saturday, then dynamite start followed by pulling a 3 second gap in first few laps, then controlled race and defended well when Kimi got close. Sound familiar?

45

The London Times story that ran in Canada’s Globe and Mail this morning described him as, “the alarming Vettel”. I of voted for him here and predict even if he runs away with the world championship in 2012 he won’t ever score more than about 15% in any Driver of the Day poll.

Robin

46

Paul di Resta showed good racecraft and excellent maturity. His drive made the car look better than it probably should have.

47

Kimi of course. He made Michael Schumacher, who is driving a winning car by the way, look like somebody that needs to prepare himself for spending time with his grandchildren in the playground not waste his time on the pit lane…

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