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Chinese Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Apr 2012   |  3:56 am GMT  |  141 comments

Nico Rosberg converted his first pole position in his debut win to give Mercedes their first win as a constructor since 1955 in a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix that saw a fast and frantic final 10 laps for second through to 10th. Who was your driver of the day?

Nico Rosberg

Pulled out what he called the ‘perfect’ lap in qualifying to secure his first pole position in 111 attempts and set up an all-Mercedes front row for the first time since the team returned to F1 in 2010. Made a clean getaway and then pushed to get a gap before the first round of stops. Showed considerably better race pace than expected and controlled the race at the front to secure his debut win and Mercedes’ first since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

Jenson Button

Struggled for to get the tyres working all weekend in the cold conditions, but looked fast in Q2. Decided to go out late in Q3, but by then the temperature had dropped and he ended up fourth on the grid. Made a good start, rising to third and then second when Michael Schumacher retired. Looked to be in with a chance of catching Rosberg until a problem at his last stop dropped him into traffic and he ultimately finished second.

Lewis Hamilton

Looked ominously quick on Friday, but a gearbox change meant he would have to take a five-place grid penalty for the race. Qualified second and started seventh. Made a good start but struggled to clear the traffic and lost a lot of time behind the Sauber of Sergio Perez. Made some good moves on Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel to rise up to third – a position he has claimed in every race this season – to assume the lead of the world championship.

Mark Webber

Decided to take the new model of the Red Bull rather than revert to older version like his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel and it appeared to pay off when he qualified sixth, five places ahead of the German. Struggled with traffic and made a few mistakes which saw him run off track, but managed his tyres well and put a brave move on his team-mate on the final lap to take fourth place to increase his lead over Vettel in the drivers’ standings.

Bruno Senna

Entered the weekend full of confidence after a sixth place in the Malaysian Grand Prix – his first points for the Williams team – but looked off the pace early on and missed out on Q3, qualifying 14th. Almost clashed with his team-mate Pastor Maldonado at the start but recovered well and made a two-stop strategy work to rise up to seventh, one place ahead of his team-mate.

Romain Grosjean

Arrived in China on the back of two retirements despite showing good pace in the Lotus. Made it through to Q3, but didn’t set a time and started 10th. Kept his nose clean at the start and then managed his two-stop strategy, rising to fifth. However, cars around him had more life on his tyres and he lost one place to ultimately finish sixth for his first point of the season.

Kimi Raikkonen

Looked to be struggling for pace early on in the weekend before the team managed to get the car more to the Finn’s liking. Qualified fourth and maintained the position early on before making his way up to second place as he was on a two-stop strategy. However, the move backfired as his tyres fell off the cliff and he dropped to 10th in one lap before ultimately crawling home 14th.


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141comments

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1

Nico. He did everything right the whole weekend and definitely deserves it.

Gotta feel sorry for Schumacher, who was on track for a good result until he had that messed up pit stop.

Also feel sorry for Raikkonen, who was doing so well until his pirelli fell off the cliff 🙁

2

Nico for a faultless weekend under what I guess must have been increasing pressure as prospect of breaking his duck got ever closer.

Honourable mentions to everyone else – somebody must have driven a bad race but I didn’t notice who.

(I was never a Schumacher fan back in the day but somehow it would warm the cockles of my heart if he could join his team-mate in a win shortly)

3

My vote went to Jenson, he is driving very well , he has become a master overtaker , he has really matured as a driver .

Great fight from where he was in the race , most people have overlooked that, that was a great fight.

4

Pastor Maldonado should be on that list

5

Just a great race to watch, I was actually disappointed for schmy.

6

Tough season to choose the winner and driver of the day.

For China I’d like to pick Lewis. He’s been very focus,cool and no longer edgy, held on to his position and moved up gracefully to third after pit stops. As an Alonso fan Lewis stands a very high chance of the WDC for 2012.

Lewis’s consistency is working well for him.

What a pity Kimi just fell off at the final part of the race, but have to give him credit for moving over without causing any hindrance to the others.

Nico drove very well too but being at the front without much fight was a bit difficult to say he’s driver of the day.

Look forward to a safe and trouble free weekend for Bahrain.

As for James and associates, I’d like to wish you all well and a pleasant Bahrain GP.

7

Im not really a Rosberg fan at all but he deserves the vote for a faultless drive.

Im a massive Webdog fan but while he drive great and was probably the most entertaining driver to watch all race he made a couple of mistakes that probably cost him a step on the podium.

ROS got my vote with Webber a close second.

If Redbull kept pace with MCL during a track like this with low temps and long straights, I think they will be getting a win sooner rather than later.

8
Adrian Newey Jnr

James – Williams have been a surprise packet for me this year. Could you shed some light into what might have clicked for them? Have they stopped chasing “hail mary” technology advances and just concentrated on doing the basics right? Is their car perhaps that good that if they had drivers the calibre of Alonso, etc that they could be achieving even stronger results? Or is it just that their strategies are maximising their performance?

9

Senna has described the package as having “gone back to the basics”, and given that his technical feedback has often been hailed as very good, I’d take his word on that. It certainly appears that’s the case, given the overall steadiness of the car’s performance.

10

THey are doing a good job. They’ve done a nice car which is really getting the most out of the tyres at the moment and that’s where others aren’t always getting it right

11

Any idea if the training set by Michael Johnson has helped with their pits stops? I’m curious to see if it pays off.

12

Rosberg all the way! Great performance and well-deserved result! Cheers to Brawn and AMG/Merc for a great job as well. A lot of good/great driving in China, and due credit to all. Senna seems to be on an upward climb, but I would also point out that Maldonado has been doing a great job! It was interesting and exciting to see Pastor and Alonso dueling it out! Pastor definitely has more talent than he is given credit for.

Any thoughts on Maldonado so far this season, James?

Cheers

13

I suppose putting Kimi’s name on this list is debatable given that it was the wrong strategy, but you have to admit he does bring excitement to races!

14

I would give it to rosberg…drove consistently and did aswell as anybody else would have done with the car.

I know its not related to the topic of dicsussion james but here are the chinese grand prix viewing figures for both sky and the beeb for comparison…

http://www.f1revs.com/2012/04/bbc-sky-chinese-gp-viewing-figures.html

15

Driver of the day, Rosberg! An awesome drive. I’m really happy too for Brawn, and Haug, such petrolheads. Anyone think Michael can win the championship next year? I hope so, he’ll be 44, what a freak.

16

James, I think you’re right putting Senna on the list (my vote), every other driver were fanastic too but Bruno made no mistakes after his bump at the first corner and drove with a damaged wing for the whole race

17

It has to be Lewis Hamilton…cutting the competitive traffic up with great patience and skill. Webber too had a stoncking race.

18

Did no one notice Vettel set a pace to recover 12 places? His car is slow in the straights, but he’s still the determined, methodically good driver from last year.

19

Hands down it was Rosberg, a flawless pole lap and a flawless drive to victory, period.

20

It seems to be the consensus that leaving it late in qualy cost a few drivers. But Kobiashyi popped up with 4th (promoted to 3rd) right at the end, so track temp can’t be the whole story. Probably more poor laps from webber and button.

21

KP:

“Either way, both so much more enjoyable to watch than our very own home

home grown sado, Lewis Hamilton…”

I was tempted not to take the bait on this one, but what the hell. I thought Hamilton showed a fair bit of humility at the end of the race in congratulating Nico and his smiles seemed genuine on the, and why not? It may be early days but he has dominated qualifying in every race so far, and is top of the championship, despite not having won a race. Fair enough, in the past he’s been a bit surly but he’s turned things around this year. Just look at the video of his interview r.e the gearbox change. 2011 Ham would have been visably unhappy, instead he was quite chirpy. I do wish people would stop bashing him because of his previous problems, he is a talented driver, and all drivers go through bad patches.

Anyhow, My vote for DOTD would be Rosberg. Still great to see him win a race finally.

22

Question James what do you think the chances are that if Schumacher wins a race this year Ross Brawn will call it a day? Already won many a championship both his teams and his drivers also a very rich man. He did mention that his dream or goal at the start of the year was to see Nico take his first win and Michael to add to his 91 tally.

23
Adrian Newey Jnr

The question is what would he do? He’s already realised that he has all the money and toys he will ever need and life without F1 for him is boring. The only challenge left for him would be to take over from Ross as team principal. But I doubt he would enjoy the politics.

24

If he’s enjoying it why should he stop?

He has limited ambitions left in F1, but I see him enjoyinhg the challenge

25

James, Following the Kimi ‘diehard’ fans votes and question marks why kimi is in the DOTD list, (I am a Kimi fan but voted for Rosberg) i thought Kimi did a fabulous job defending second whilst he had a string of drivers behind him unable to overtake dispite KERS and DRS, but is the fall of the cliff down to Kimi using up the tyres or his pit messing up the laps he was expected to do on them ?

26

After a slow start that turned into a great race. Nico was on fire from start to finish – a perfect qualifying and a perfect drive in the race. Consequently, he gets my vote.

Next up would be Button. Left it late in qualifying and paid the price in terms of grid position but it didn’t take him that long to do something about it. A shame about the problem in his final stop – I think that with fresher tyres he could have reeled in Nico. Whether or not he could have passed him is another matter but I think we were deprived of a battle for the win.

Third vote would go to Hamilton. Doing a far more steady job than last year, keeping it clean and a trio of third places isn’t bad at all, even if this is the first he worked his way up to rather than falling back. A spell at the top of the leaderboard will do his self-confidence no end of good.

Honorary mention goes to Webber. I am delighted to see him outshining his team-mate this year, though I’ll be even happier if he stops flying his car!

27

This is an easy one, Nico all the way for me.

Little nod to Senna for a good finish again and I thought Kimi was VERY unlucky.

I still hate these tyres, the marbles were just silly and really reduced the racing line far too much for me.

28

It has to be Nico for me, if you can’t give DOTD ont he back of pole position and maiden win, you are never going to give it.

James, my sense is the fans are more excited than for a long time

Everything about this race seemed to show teams/drivers in their best light, stretching themselves to the max, pit calls, strategy…. everything.

29

James, I wanted to note, you said Roman Grosjean kept his nose clean at the start. That isn’t true at all. He literally rammed his nose up Alonso’s rear at the first corner. I’m sure he’s a fan but there are better ways to communicate with Alonso Roman. For this obvious reason, given that he crashed out so far this year, he doesn’t deserve to even be mentioned in driver of the day. Was surprised there was no damage from the collision and really he had no one pressuring him, quite an oafish move. Rosberg is the obvious star.

30

Driver of the day … Nico paired an excellent start with his great qualifying but after the first 5 seconds of the race he just had to keep circulating and not screw up. I like him (and was a fan of his Father), and I’m glad to see him get a win at last, and he and his team deserved the win, but he didn’t *do* much to earn DOTD.

Kimi ? Did well, but a bad tyre decision (or taking too much out of the them) cost him dearly.

Webber ? Just for the move on Vettel , on another day maybe

Any of the Williams or Sauber drivers for the amount of excitement they generated.

In the end the McLaren drivers both finished in better places than they started, and Lewis was a bit more exciting the Jenson.

But what a race, and so many good performances.

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