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Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jun 2012   |  9:35 am GMT  |  188 comments

Fernando Alonso delighted his home crowd with a thrilling victory in the European Grand Prix in Valencia but there were impressive drives all the way down the field. Who was your driver of the day?

Fernando Alonso

Had a positive day on Friday finishing 7th fastest overall but made a mistake in Q2 by doing a medium tyre run and a soft tyre run rather than two soft tyre runs. Failed to make Q3 as a result and started 11th. Made up three places at the start and then passed Lewis Hamilton later in the race as the McLaren driver had a problem in the pits. Made a bold move around the outside of Romain Grosjean for second and then inherited the lead when Sebastian Vettel retired. Looked after his tyres in the final stint to secure his 29th career victory and reclaim the lead of the drivers’ standings.

Kimi Raikkonen

Looked solid in practice and put in a strong performance to qualify fifth, one place behind Lotus team-mate Grosjean. Made a good start, but was forced to lift before Turn Two in a tightly-packed field and dropped down as a result. Showed good race pace to rise up to third and then closed up to the back of Hamilton. Eventually made a move stick to rise up into second and then coasted home to secure his third podium of the season.

Michael Schumacher

Played down his chances of securing a good result in Valencia after a disappointing performance in Canada but showed encouraging pace in practice. An error in Q2 meant he didn’t make the top 10 shoot-out and started 12th between the two Ferraris. Made a clean start on the medium tyre but decided late on that a one-stop wasn’t possible and switched to a two. The decision proved inspired as fresher tyres late in the race helped him climb through the field, rising up to third courtesy of some good moves and retirements from others. Held off a chasing Mark Webber to secure his first podium since returning to the sport.

Mark Webber

Suffered a brake problem in final practice which meant he lost valuable running time. Though the team fixed the car to get him out in qualifying, the Australian was on the back foot and without DRS, which meant he was knocked out in Q1 and started 19th. Made slow progress in the early part of the race after starting on the medium tyre, but like Schumacher decided late on to switch from a one-stop to a two-stop which helped him scythe through the field. Finished fourth and rose up to second in the drivers’ standings.

Nico Hulkenberg

Outperformed Force India team-mate Paul di Resta to qualify a strong eighth after showing good pace in practice. Made a clean start, to make up a couple of places and then looked after his tyres. Used an early two-stop strategy, with a longer final stint to rise up through the pack and run as high as third. However, a Kers failure and worn tyres meant he lost two places to Schumacher and Webber before holding on to fifth place – the best result of his career.


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188comments

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1

Why do people keep saying Vettel’s success is really his cars when his car lost the race for him?

2

Ok,

Vettel’s success and failure is real in his car.

3

Maybe Vettel and Hamilton could be choices too? Especially Vettel. That’s who I’d have chosen. He was the dominant driver of the day.

4

please add Vettel in the poll. He was pulling away at a second a lap during the race and had third of a lap lead when the safety car came out. He is the driver of the day

5

My heart said Schumacher, but Alonso is the only choice really.

I am no FA fan, but he is unquestionably at the peak of his powers now.

6

Alonso superb, Vettel was in a class of his own! Should have been on the list

7

My vote go to Pastor Maldonado, he is the driver of the day. Without his graceful help, Michael Schumacher wasn’t able to stand on the podium. Good Job.

8

Falonso for me.

Not quite sure though, how Schumacher rates as high as Webber who started 19th on the grid, 7 places behind Schumacher.

9

Alonso for his impeccable overtaking moves to reach the top three, that was before then safety car and Vettel’s retirement. Grojean and Vettel did very well too until the fall out.

SILVERSTONE!!!

10

Alonso for me, but I think both Vettel and Grosjean deserve consideration.

It’ll be very interesting to see whether the updated Red Bull is as fast at Silverstone, where temps should be cooler. It looked glued to the track at Valencia, and seemed to be working well with the tyres.

11

Alonso is something special this season! He is so focused and has pulled some rabbits out of his hat already this season.

This was the best so far.

12

James,

I’m interested in your reasoning for omitting Seb Vettel from the list?

My vote would have been Alonso anyway, but if Seb was included, I think your poll result would have been very close between him and Alonso for driver of the day. From the list, I’m not surprised Alonso is the clear winner.

Cheers,

David

13

James,

For me is Alonso.

He is a true racer and honest…in his own words, he is not the best in rain, he is not the best in quali, he is not the faster BUT he is almost the best in any of these points mentioned, plus very very inteligent…I didnt see any mentioned to his overtake on Schumi but if you see it again in detail he prepare that move way way before…the guy is fantastic.

14

Schumi tried a one stop and had way older tyres. For me Schumi was driver of the day because of the restart at SC he did on old tyres…

15

I’m not a fan of Romain Grosjean, however he has been mighty impressive so far this year ( I always said Kimi was over-rated, no talk and no action either!). Robert who ??

16

he just clinced 2nd genius~~ no action??

17

Oh yeah, hes been on the podium three times this year and hes only 3 points off 5th in the Championship, when no one rated him a chance at the podium before the season started. His move on Hamilton was sheer class and the passes he’d made on many this year had been as good as you get… But Steve, your entitled to your opinion!

18

Have to agree that Alonso was the driver of the day – with Vettel every bit as good, but shaded by Fernando – not sure why Vettel was not included in your list of candidates?

19

Alonso did amazing. 11th to 8th off the line, worked his way up, got a bit lucky with the safety car happening at the correct time for him, but even so, it was much more than luck.

Schumacher and Webber did excellently soldiering through the pack together, and well done to Schumacher for his first comeback podium that he was denied of in Canada (11) and China (12).

Feel massively sorry for Vettel and Grosjean for their mechanical failures out of 1st and 2nd respectively.

I have some points I would like to say:

1. The Senna-Kobayashi incident was clearly Kobayashi’s fault, or at most, a racing incident. Kobayashi went for a gap which was only going to disappear, crashed into Senna giving him a puncture. Senna then gets a penalty, despite having to nurse in a puncture and pit.

2. What was Vergne thinking?

3. What happened to Petrov?

4. The Hamilton-Maldonado incident was clearly a racing incident. There are two types of racing incident; where neither drivers are at fault, or where both drivers are at fault. This was the latter. Yes, Maldonado was off the circuit, and should have pulled well back, or taken to the run off area and rejoined behind Hamilton, but why was Hamilton leaving so little space. He new Maldonado was there, but still decided to close the door on Maldonado, leaving no space, and thus causing a collision.

20

Schumacher. Alonso might have started next to him and he might have gained some places more, but he also drives a better car.

21

Nando all the way for me.

22

In a race such as this I would have wanted only Schumi to be the man of the day, but the top 4 were brilliant and any of those deserve man of the day. Alonso was great during the race, Kimi was the man chaising him and Schumacher… he was inspired today; held off a faster red bull behind him whilst fighting for glory. I voted for him, but any of the top 4 would do.

In a excellent race such as this only bad drivers stand out, and only Button, with a race winning car he failed to do anything. Bad race from him, making him the worst driver for the day. I hope Sliverstone will turn it around for him but for now his perfermance is hardly what is expected of him.

23

Both Schumacher and Alonso would not have made the podium had a slew of cars gone off in front of them. Possibly, alonso would have been 3rd….But hey, that is motorracing.

24

Have to give it to Alonso. Some may say that he had some luck on his side, but no other driver can capitalize on an opportunity better than him.

25

In my opinion, it has to be Fernando Alonso.

His win was worked out throughout the whole race, combining yet another great start, effective moves over his opponents, a good strategy and a pinch of luck with mechanical and Pit Stop problems of direct competitors.

He showed the consistency we all expect in a driver competing for WDC.

26

ALO for me with WEB a close second. Amazing race.

27

By the way, Alonso gets driver of the race, hands down. The guy’s a real ace in an F1 car.

28

Alonso and Vettel both drove stunning races in very different ways.

Grosjean should get a mention for his bold move on Maldonado on Lap 1 and later on Hamilton. He’s a pretty feisty racer!

Voted for Alonso.

29

Hey, James! I’ve got a question for you….

What happened to the old driver’s etiquette element that concludes: if a driver attempts to pass on the outside of an opponent into a corner because the inside line is covered by said opponent, the risk then totally rests on the shoulder of said driver making that outside pass?

I say “later” for all of that business about leaving the outside passing car room on the race track, if the inside car has the corner.

Strictly my opinion, here, but I was starting to like Maldonado as a driver. However, that “destruction derby” move he put on Hamilton, with just 1 lap to go, simply shows me Palster’s still the same “squirrel” of a race driver who nearly got booted out of motor racing, altogether, for running over that poor track marshal at Monaco about 4 or 5 years ago (in GP2 I believe) during a yellow flag, track clearing incident–no less!

Lights on upstairs–but nobody’s home….

30

Hmmm, disagree. If the rules state that a driver has to give another driver at least a car’s width of track if he attempting an outside pass then Pastor had every right to go for it and Lewis should have given him room. Forget etiquette – that’s the rules. Actually, include etiquette as that should be a driver’s extension of the rules to add and supplement, so correct etiquette would be to give him a car’s width and a bit more. Usually this is not a problem as it puts the overtaking driver on the dust and marbles and the leading driver would want to hug the racing line anyway. It was only an issue on that corner as it was immediately followed by an opposing corner, giving the driver on the left the advantage. Lewis know this so drove Pastor off the road. Don’t get me wrong – I am a bit of a Lewis fan (although becoming less so over the past two seasons) and don’t yet rate Pastor that highly but, as a former racer myself I would put more of the blame onto Lewis for that clash (although you might penalise both drivers as Pastors ultimate collision might be seen as “payback” for being driven off the road).

31

Sorry Bill! Can’t agree with that logic at all….

Maldonado, in absolutely, no way had a chance of making that move stick. If you’re an old racer (I, myself, raced karts including 100mph (+) endurance karts at SCCA road courses)then you know it was Hamilton’s corner (due to his having the only real line through that turn)no ifs or buts about it, my man.

Possessing half-a-brain would have seen Palster get a much better exit out of any of the following turns that lap, and jet right by Lewis like Räikkönen did a lap, or so, earlier.

But no! Maldonado made a move that can only be classified “a joke” except it wasn’t very funny. Particularly, given the fact that he races in what is considered the premier motor sports series, F1, while competing against what are said to be the “world’s best drivers”.

For Hamilton’s part, he had every right to defend since he was leading, “duh”!. On the other hand, if he recognized that “the dope” Maldonado was in that Williams, perhaps, he should have known it would all end in tears by just defending like any real racer would….

Palster’s penalty was, far too, lenient considering he has made contact with practically every car on the grid this season, in what just eight Grand Prix!

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