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German Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jul 2012   |  7:27 am GMT  |  168 comments

Fernando Alonso became the first driver to win three races this season with a dominant victory in a thrilling German Grand Prix but who was your Driver of the Day?

Fernando Alonso

Looked quick in dry conditions on Saturday morning as he topped the times in third and final practice. Carried that form into a wet qualifying to secure his second pole position of the season. Made a lightening getaway from pole and controlled the race in the first two stints. Was put under pressure by Jenson Button in the final stint, but resisted the McLaren’s attack and then kept enough in reserve to pull away in the closing laps and secure his third win of the season and 30th of his career, one less than 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell.

Jenson Button

Topped the opening session of the weekend, but struggled to get his tyres working in wet conditions and could only qualify seventh which became sixth with Mark Webber’s five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, one place ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Made a good start and rose up to fifth in the early stages before putting good moves on Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher at the hairpin to rise up to third. Slick pit work got him out ahead of Vettel for second before pursuing leader Alonso. Lost a position to Vettel on the penultimate lap but got second back after the race when Vettel was penalised by 20-seconds for an illegal pass.

Kimi Raikkonen

Looked good in Friday practice but struggled in wet conditions and could only qualify 10th. Showed good race pace and supreme race-craft, including a brilliant move on Paul di Resta early in the race. Ran the first two stints on the soft tyre which allowed him to climb up the first to fourth, finishing 16 seconds off leader Alonso. Promoted to third after Vettel’s penalty for his fourth podium of the season. Moved up to fourth in the championship with 98 points.

Kamui Kobayashi

Struggled in wet conditions in qualifying and failed to make it into Q3. Started 12th and showed that the Sauber had good pace in the dry, quickly rising up into the top 10 with some bullish moves. Ran deep into the race which helped him move up the order before crossing the line to finish fifth, one place ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez. Promoted to fourth after Vettel’s penalty to score good points and strengthen the team’s grip on sixth place in the constructors’.

Sergio Perez

Like his Sauber team-mate Kobayashi, struggled for pace in qualifying and started a disappointing 17th. Showed impressive pace and made up seven places in the first 10 laps. Thought he had a puncture which forced him into an early pit stop, but battled back up the field with some good overtaking moves to finish a strong sixth.


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1

I understand why the top finishers are receiving much of the plaudits here. Alonso drove a commanding race, led from start to finish, and there can be no doubt that he is, on current form, the best driver in F1.

Jenson had a good race, no more. He made the moves he needed to make early on in the race which allowed him to compete for the victory. However, it has to be noted that his overtakes at the start of the grand prix were on much slowers cars, Schumacher in the Mercedes was a good second a lap slower. Nonetheless though, a good race. But not driver of the day by a long shot.

To me, driver of the day is about more than just finishing on the podium. Although Raikkonen had a supreme race and deserves all the credit he has received, even his tactical nouse at outright speed is not enough to class him as driver of the day.

You cannot look further than the two Sauber drivers. Kamui and Sergio both drove absolutely stunning races. Perez came from the back of the grid, burning past all in his way. Webber, Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Schumacher but to name a few. Even more stunning was the pace of both drivers when in free air. Anyone who was keeping an eye on the F1 Live Timing screens throughout the race will have seen just how quick they really were. Not only were they at front running pace, at times, Alonso was a good half second slower. Kobayashi simply ran out of laps versus Raikkonen. We think of the Lotus as a quick car but the Sauber had it beaten all ends up in a straight fight.

With that in mind, the two Sauber drivers take a joint driver of the day in my book. 4th and 6th was the least they deserved and the team are looking very competitive as we head towards Budapest.

On a final note, I never hear any discussions for worst driver of the day. People have been raving about Romain Grojean of late. Its true, on average his one lap pace has been a fraction quicker than Kimi so far this season. But his race craft and general intelligence has to be called into question at this point. There is only so many first lap incidents that can be attributed to “bad luck”. Romain is beginning to cost the Lotus team valuable points with his inability to keep his nose clean at the start of Grand Prix. The skill to get through the first lap without incident is in my opinion, one which cannot be thought (despite Sir Jackie Stewart believing otherwise). It is not a skill that Romain appears to have and although experience will reduce the number of errors Romain makes over time, I’m affraid its looking as though he is yet another driver who is lacking in a crucial area of motor racing. All the speed in the world is no good without it.

Jean Eric Vergne is the other driver I would put in the category of flop of the day, along with Mark Webber. Neither showed any real pace throughout the weekend.

To summarise:

Drivers of the day;

1. Perez

2. Kobayashi

3. Raikkonen/Alonso/Button

Flops of the day;

1. Grojean

2. Webber

3. Vergne

Rayz

2

In what’s channel you broadcast? None? You should

3

Mr Rayz, I agree with Rod, you did a great analysis and even better comments

4

Thank you! 🙂

5

think you will find Jack Brabham fits that criteria

6

It’s a slightly difficult one to call. Alonso drove a strong race throughout, but was never really challenged. Button looked very good, but ultimately didn’t get the job done.

My vote is for Kobayashi, who teamed his trademark gutsy overtakes with impressive speed and tyre management. It’s good to see Kamui moving out of his teammate’s shadow again. Sauber have a very able driver pairing at the moment.

7

Never really challenged……… constant pressure e from behind, yes a few breathers, mid race and after Button the magic Tyre man had to back off due to lack of grip, only then at the very end was the mid race gap retained, when Alonso was able to put the hammer down due to masterful race craft and tyre management

Look at how close the race and order was, one small mistake and three four cars could pass, look at Vettel, had he settled for third instead of fighting it out with Button…..

8

If starting on pole and winning by four seconds makes you driver of the day, these polls are useless.

You guys should point out that driver of the day isn’t about who won the race… and even less how you performed in qualy…

9

OK, so you start from pole and you know that your car is not the quickest on the grid, Vettel 2nd on grid lost four places Shumacher 3 on grid lost 6 places, so by keeping track possition, fending off faster cars managing his tyres showing master class race craft fending off three WDC winners in marginable faster cars does not quallify for driver off the day , Kev’s reply makes equal sense

Please state your criteria for drive of the day and i am sure someone in here will enlighten your insite 🙂

10

Yes, they should give the title to who has the best reason for retiring from the race.

Lewis would have won that for Germany:)

11

has there been in the history of f1 ..where a WC has won the championship by winning the least number of race or better no race in that season

12

1982. Keke Rosberg only won a single race.

13

New found respect for Alonso. Incredible year(s) (incl the last year) for the greatest driver alive.

14

I couldn’t agree less (coming from a Schumacher fan)!

15

It could not have come from anywhere else……

Watch the scrap between Alonso and Shuey at Imola 2005, where the “greatest ever” was given a lesson in race craft from a 23 year old in a car two sec down over 13 laps……

16
Stone the crows

Alonso, without a doubt, he didn’t put a foot wrong, and has made more of the Ferrari than anyone expected. Kudos to the team as well giving him an excellent strategy. It is especially impressive given the way Ferrari struggled at the begining of the year and that they still do not feel they have the best car.

17

With the inconsistency of most other drivers, Alonso just has to average a 4th place each race for the rest of the season and I think that will be enough for the Championship. He should be able to do this.

18

McLaren should have ditched LH when they had the chance in 2007… They’d have at least two world driving championships by now. FA is more consistent and a better driver/team player than LH on all counts. Ohhhhh…. right… it might of been the team as well… 🙂

19

I can’t see an argument for anyone else but Alonso, sheer class.

On another note, James will you PLEASE release a book at Christmas full of posts on this site by McLaren fans in particular Hamilton fans they are so funny it would make the perfect Christmas gift!It would keep us all laughing through to the start of next season.

20

No chance! I will be putting out the end of season book as usual

21

I think you’d need to be blinkered or biased to vote anyone but Alonso. A race win in a car that is not the fastest – in this era of DRS and KERS – is surely noteworthy. Not as emotional or exciting as Valencia but perhaps a greater victory…

22
Charles Montera

Alonso. RBR and McLaren had a quicker car than Ferrari, but the way the Spaniard managed to stay out of the DRS zone in the crucial moments of the race was amazing. The smart use of DRS while passing lapped cars to resist Jenson’s attacks was fantastic. His mental strength is phenomenal and unmatchable.

23

Has to be Alonso. Simply put Alonso is the class of the field because of one thing in my opinion and that is called race craft. Nearly anyone can drive fast, but not everyone can think a race through, the way that Alonso seems to be able to.

He seems to be able to forward think during the race and have the bases covered, eg: knowing when to be quick, knowing when to slow things down, knowing when to push and when not to. This is the difference, and is seen only in a few drivers. Anyone can be quick, but speed does not necessarily win you races.

24

Good point about the 31 years of age comparison. I do agree that of all the drivers on the grid today, Alonso is the most Schumacher-like in terms of all-around ability and race craft. He’s always had the race craft and doggedness but not the one lap qualifying blitz or the wet driving ability. Now, he seems to have both covered as well. Due to the budget restrictions today, I doubt he’ll equal Schumi’s 7.

Vettel still tends to make mistakes, loses his cool at times, but then he’s also much younger. He’s going to get better still but what will he be like at his peak? Newey gifted him 2 WDCs early in his career.

Hamilton looked like he was going to be an all-time best in 2007 after the best rookie season of all time. Somehow, he has not improved as much as expected or needed. Jackie Ickx was a young phenom too but never went on to the next level of the immortals.

Just like any sport, a drive’s career is not judged on the base talent they started with but how they worked on their craft their entire career.

25

Yes, Newey gifted him the 2011 championship but the 2010 championship was much tougher to earn.

26
Spinodontosaurus

The RB6 had silly levels of grip, so not really. Aside from the reliability issues, Vettel was on a mission to crash his WDC chances away in 2010.

27

the 2010 was gifted by Ferrari

28

I agree with most of your comment but I hope you haven’t overlooked Alonso’s skill in the wet. Hungary 2006 or Germany 2007 are just a few examples with plenty of footage available.

29

Alonso’s drive at Imola 2005, in a Renault almost two seconds slower than MS’s Ferrari for 13 laps he held the F1 superforce at bey whilst being hit with everything MS and Ferrari had from behind, 7 WDC crown’s all the records you can imagine….. but did Shuey get passed, nope, Alonso was 23… and even with the new regulations i don’t see why he can not equal MS if thats his goal…….

30

I couldn’t agree more; very well expressed

31

Hear ! Hear !

Lewis and Seb both have plenty of time to Improve their race strategy but I doubt whether they will ever match Alonso in this respect – he is hardly an old hand himself !

32

Great race, Alonso was my DOTD, I love how he managed that race, awesome. Kamui and Kimi were great too. Lots of dicing, clean racing, gloat listing, all good stuff.

33

Quite simply has to be Alonso. My prediction after 2004 was that Fernando would be ‘the next Schumacher’, not simply in terms of Championships won, but in temperament, racecraft, guille and class, and this season is simply proving just how right I was.

It interests me that, despite there being several younger champions in recent years it looks like Alonso is reaching his peak at around the same time Schumacher did (Schuey was also 31 when he went on his 5xWDC streak, Alonso is 31 next week…). It does seem that experience still counts for something despite all appearances being that ‘youth’ was becoming the defining characteristic for a champ in the last 7-8 seasons. Alonso is a much better driver than he was in 05/06 (and I don’t want to get into how badly the regs. hampered Ferrari in that era…) and no-one would bet against him making it to 4 or 5 championships. Still, it does make one wonder how good Vettel will be in his 30’s. He starts from a much higher base than either Alonso or Schumacher (imho) and could win a truly staggering number of titles!

34

Hello James, an off-topic question:

Why does it take the stewards so long to make decisions? Surely the Vettel penalty is not really ‘fair’ – he deserved to come third at least (even though I am a Kimi fan).

It is very disappointing that drivers and results get messed around due to the indecision of the people that are supposed to know the rules. I can understand it if a technical or complicated issue needs to be resolved after the race, but simple things like Vettel going off track (to possibly avoid a collision) should be dealt with immediately. It would have given the fans the excitement of watching him attempt the overtake again, in the last lap, and would have resulted in ‘more representative’ finishing positions than we have now. There is no way that Vettel deseves a 5th place finish.

Surely anybody can go through the rule-book after the fact and apply them unthinkingly – but the stewards are supposed to be able to interpret the spirit of the rules on the spot (much like a referee in another sport)- if they are unable to do this, why have them?

35

Giving him the third place would regulate the unfair advantage he gained by going off track, but it’s not really a punishment, rather an invitation to do it again, since you had nothing to lose if it didn’t work out.

36

I don’t think that he tried anything sneaky with that manoeuvre – it was not a blatant case of cutting a corner. Do you think that the punishment fits the crime? I don’t think so – that is why informed people are needed to make a judgement call on the spot, not ‘stewards’ who need to look through the rule book to tell them what to think.

37

I’m not suggesting that a fan like me should do the thinking, but surely the FIA can do a better job at making real-time calls on 50/50 incidents like this one.

38

Hi James,

What do you think of the mental fibre of the current top contenders? Alonso seems unmatched.

39

Great question. Deserves long answer

40
Romeo - MEX in USA.

Looking forward James and thank you for your great job.

41

Article coming? 🙂

42

This race was an example or why Webber is not a title contender!

He started 8th with best car on the grid and got beaten by Sergio Perez who start 17th, Kobayashi who started 12th and Kimi who started 10th!

Theres not excuse for such poor perfomance when you driving the best car and your teammates fighting for the win.

Winning the odd race here and there isnt going to win a world title!

Webber is decent afew weekends every season and Rubbish the rest!

Vettels out scored Webber in every season for the past 4 years including his debut year driving a Toro Rosso!

If Webber could beat a 19yr old kid back in 2009 he sure isnt going 2 beat Vettel the double world champion neither is he going 2 beat Alonso the double world champion.

43

Red Bull may be clever enough to find every loophole possible like their special engine maps in Germany but they dum enough not have a no1!Webber a average driver but his a good no2!

The tention between Vettel and Webber has never left its still there and Sooner or later Vettel and Webber will find themselves fighting for places or for a win this yr and the result of that isnt going to be that good

for Red Bull!I can imagine another situation like Turkey coming very soon!Red Bull are shooting themselves in the foot by allowing this to continue.

As for Mclaren I think they need 2 be realistic if they want 2 win this years drivers title!Button is 86 behind Alonso realistically he doesnt stand a snow balls chance in Hell! if they were clever they would make him support Hamilton for the remainder of the season!

During Schumi’s days at Ferrari they clearly knew they had the best driver in the world and they were intelligent enough to not shoot themselves in the foot by not fully supporting him!

If Red Bull ever want 2 dominate they way Ferrari did they clearly need 2 fully back Vettel!if Red Bull left the past 2 seasons 2 Webber Alonso would be a triple world champ and Button would be double world champ!

Im sure everytime Webber takes points of Vettel and Button takes points off Hamilton Stefano and Luca have a gigle! 🙂

Only 1 driver can be champion and if you have 1 of the 3 best drivers in the world like Red Bull and Mclaren do!Clearly u want to give him every chance of been champion like Ferrari did with Schumi and now with Alonso not keep shooting them in them foot!

I really find it amuzing how naive Red Bull and Mclaren are! 🙂

44

Red Bull is not the best car on the grid. McLaren was the best on race day.

45

Not yet, not quite

46

Button may have looked faster towards the end but he wasnt exactly looking after his tires!Alonso was wise enough too and if he wanted to im sure he could have pushed and gone faster!Anyways he did set 1 1:19.1 on his second last lap faster then anything Button or Vettel managed and he still had tires left @ the end!

Theres no doubt Mclaren have improved but it took them a full 9 races to bring this update.Where Red Bull and Ferrari already had big updates much earlier it wont be long before they bring big improvements to their cars either and im guessing by the time the summer breaks over they would clear of Mclaren yet again.

47

what a difficult event for all involved. and prolly half the field could be considered for drive of the weekend on some reasonable level!!

I actually DO closely follow the entire field and felt C. Pic had the event of his young career. kudos to him and his boys! I think he woulda had the upper hand even if Timo had not had his car issues…

just kinda shows the depth of talent in F1 drivers, engineers, pit bosses, and Teams this year!

having said all that, I voted for Alonso. with NO disrespect to any driver, ever – including a few of my life-long heros, Alonso simply has it going on. it takes dozens of attributes to be the biggest, baddest dawg behind the wheel. I gotta rate Alonso “among” the very bestest ever in EVERY category – and only top dawg in one – being the most bad-ass Pit Bull to grab a F1 steering wheel… BTW, I do not hate Ferrari – just never been a huge fan… and still cannot read whether their deal with Massa has been grossly incompetent or the result of an incredibly awesome company!!!

I won’t even consider argueing too much with all you awesome knowledgeable fans on this site – most of u are that damned good…

48

Alonso for me. I’ve been critical of him in the past but this whole weekend was another example of great driving from him. I don’t think the Ferrari is as bad as Massa makes appear, but it’s still not as quick as the Red Bull or McLaren, and yet Alonso’s still pulling away at the front. Really, class of his own so far this year.

49

It has to be Fernando Alonso for me. He was under pressure for the whole race (the only gap was on a last lap when I managed to breath as well!) and still managed to remain calm and did his thing. Whilst this might be controversial…2nd is Lewis Hamilton for me. Jumping Vettel was a burst of fresh air (you all know why). That move was very important. Very.

DS

50

On an almost entirely trivial note:

Does Button actually get the trophy which Seb had his mitts on? And does Button in turn give his trophy to Kimi?

Do they actually bother, I wonder…….

Would be great to see a mumpy Seb hand over the goods!

51

And Kimi would possibly be very pleased to collect the trophy without having to do the PC, ha.

Anyway some great overtaking by the Iceman.

Looking like its Alonso’s year!

52

+1

+1

+1

(To all 3 comments)!

53

Yes

54

as funny as it may sound. If Lotus could qualy better I think Kimi would be up there chasing Alonso. However, he tends to spend his race workign his way up to 2nd, 3rd or 4th and has noting left at the end for the leader. Great race from Kimi but needs to be starting top 6 each week in order to be in with a shout.

55

Who else but Fernando? He put in a Senna-esque race, dictating the pace of the race and not succumbing to pressure from behind on virtually every lap. Masterful, and the kind of stuff that will lead him to his third title by season’s end

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