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Indian Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Oct 2012   |  7:30 pm GMT  |  263 comments

Sebastian Vettel took a fourth successive win with an impressive drive to victory in the Indian Grand Prix, but there were strong drives throughout the field. What about Fernando Alonso moving up from 5th to 2nd? Or Mark Webber getting a podium despite not having KERS? Who was your driver of the day?

Sebastian Vettel

Arrived in India having led every single lap of the last three races to assume the championship lead. Dominated all practice sessions and continued that good form by taking pole position – his fifth of the season – to head a third successive Red Bull lock out. Defended aggressively from team mate Mark Webber at the start to take the lead and from then on commanded the race from the head of the field. Collected his fifth win of the season and second successive triumph in India to extend his lead over Fernando Alonso to 13 points at the top of the drivers’ standings.

Fernando Alonso

Boosted by his Ferrari team bringing several new parts to India but struggled to keep pace with the Red Bulls and McLarens in practice. Made a mistake on his final qualifying lap to finish fifth fastest, one place ahead of team mate Felipe Massa. A good start saw him pull alongside both McLarens on the first lap, making a move on Lewis Hamilton stick before passing Jenson Button a few laps later. Began catching Webber and passed him as the Australian struggled with a Kers problem. Finished second – his 10th podium of the season – to retain hopes of a third title.

Mark Webber

Matched team mate Vettel for pace all weekend, but made a mistake on his final qualifying run and started second. Made a good start, putting pressure on Vettel, but couldn’t get past and settled into second a few seconds adrift. Looked after his tyres, but lost a place to Alonso in the closing stages as he struggled with a Kers problem. Held off Hamilton to secure the final podium position in third and retain a mathematical but slim chance of a maiden title.

Lewis Hamilton

Bemoaned a lack of pace after Friday practice but was closer than many expected in qualifying to line up third on the grid. Needed to make an impact on the Red Bulls but instead found himself struggling to hold off Alonso. Lost a place to team mate Button and then Alonso. Fought back – with the use of DRS – to pass Button for fourth. His McLaren team changed all four tyres and his steering wheel in just 3.3 seconds before sending him back out on track in pursuit of Webber. Begun catching Webber – and closed to within a second – but ran out of laps to pass the Australian and finished fourth.

Nico Hulkenberg

Looked impressive in recent races, outperforming Force India team mate Paul di Resta, and lined up 12th on the grid, four places ahead of Di Resta. Made a good getaway and confirmed his car’s good race pace in front of the team’s home crowd by scything through the field – putting a good move on Romain Grosjean – to finish eighth – his third consecutive points finish and ninth of the season.

Bruno Senna

Under pressure to deliver a strong drive having underperformed in comparison to his team mate Pastor Maldonado for much of this season. Ran in the top 10 across the weekend, but a mistake in qualifying meant he missed out on Q3. Starting 13th, the Brazilian kept his nose clean at the start and then quietly progressed through the field. Put a clever move on Maldonado which would have boosted his confidence on the way to 10th – his eighth points finish of the season to close to within seven points of Maldonado in the standings.

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1

James… I love your site, but your comment sections are starting to turn into a shambles. This one, for example, is a handful of posters who think they’re right and are trying to browbeat everyone else to their point-of-view instead of respecting opinions. Any way of combatting this?

2

Christopher, clearly there are passionate fans here exchanging opinions /arguments if you have an opinion on the subject matter- make it. Otherwise you can just exclude yourself- but criticising everyone including the messenger really doesn’t help

3

I think DOTD is by its nature a debate about which driver did the best job, so these kinds of comments are what you get and you have to let people have their say

We moderate them carefully on the site to keep the standard high.

4

One thing I’ve wondered about DOTD is – is it confined to *race day* (as the name would suggest). I ask as often the narrative refers to qualifying and practice (and the comments also do).

An e.g. – how to treat a driver who has a shocker in qualifying but an immense race. Do we ignore the qualifying? Might the shocking qualifying even increase the driver’s prospects of DOTD as such a driver has a greater ask on race day?

If it is DOTD (rather than DOTW) presumably it is skewed *against* good qualifiers. Maybe that feeds into the Vettel debate?

5

Alonso is my driver of the day, he followed webber for a bit – kept in touch, and, if you watched closely at some point he said ‘right im having him ‘ and turned up the wick, dam he was kicking the dust up using the track and some, ok webber had a problem but he was almost allways a foot inside the track. Alonso just drives the nuts off that fezza his amazing, the only other driver out there that can do that is hamilton.

6

James,

If you do an Alonso vs. Vettel driver comparison you’ll probably set a comments record. Include a poll to see how many fans of each are here. It will be a great way to fill in a gap between GPs! Seems there are some passionate fans on here.

7

Sebee do you think people are not voting for Vettel because they like Alonso more? or Hamilton more? or any other Driver more?

or perhaps, they genuinely do not think his performance warranted the DOTD title, and maybe, just maybe, your own perception of his abilities are clouding your own judgement?

As mentioned many times, I’m sure if you see Seb start from the middle upwards of the Top Ten and win the race from there, or climb to the podium, then I would put money on the table that he would get the votes.

8

Fans here know their F1. I think they vote with knowledge. Big part of their DOTD vote is entertainment value. Obviously a driver leading flag to flag is not as entertaining to watch as one who cuts through the field. But one should not dismiss that effort up front. I find it a bit surprising that Vettel never gets credit for this. I find it even more surprising because other driver have gotten the vote with such a dominating GP performance. Thats really my point. And also the fact that as fast as some may think Alonso is, I don’t believe he has magic pixy dust in his race suit pocket. I think Vettel, Kimi, Lewis, Schumi, even Button are in the same elite club of drivers.

9

You are certainly one of the passionate ones. Which I like, because it compensates for all the Vettel bashing around here 🙂

10
Bjornar Simonsen

I just really think that Alonso deserves to get the victory this year because of the way he has driven these past three years.

It must really be hard on ones phyche to push so incredibely hard for so long and get so close without really getting it.

I can understand the frustration he seemingly has now because this year it seemed as he would finally be rewarded for his insane effort, but was then taken away for no fault of his own.

Now RBR has figured out how to be fast again and the WDC seems to be over…

Vettel is one of the best, but not yet THE best. For that he needs to show he can win without the best car, more than once.

11

Webber gets my Driver of the Day vote.

Webber lost so much time having to fight the lack of kers from lap 19/20, not to mention all the other issues that comes from kers failing, like break balance, etc. He was still able to get a podium.

Vettel pulling away from pole doesnt put him above Mark in any way. Clean air in front so better aero. Better aero leads to less wear on tyres. Less wear on tyres means can go faster for longer.

To be honest, I think the current tyres play way too much a part of each race, with drivers only able to challenge each other for a couple of laps at a time, till they have to back off to reduce tyre wear so that they dont gimp their strategy.

I like the pit stops caused by the tyre wear, but not the other side effects that come from that.

12

Webber drove the wheels off the car to hold out Hamilton. 80 Hp down and also the weight disadvantage.

Mark Webber is a far more talented driver, (a real racer), than Vettel. Alonso deserves to be champion for 2012, but Vettel will hold the title for the third time, due to the RBR Team behind him. Webbers development of the car and Adrian’s genius are the reason Vettel is so successful.

13

It’s not 80hp down *and also* the weight disadvantage – just 80hp down (and that only for up to 6.67secs a lap)- no weight disadvantage as everyone is carrying the same weight.

But I agree Webber did a decent job.

14

Not 6.67 – I think you meant to say .67. Most engineers are quoting .4 second and car/ brake balance issues.

15

It should be Massa. This is the pinnacle of the motorsport and all you have to do, is to drive like devil to get the maximum result. BUT… to hold yourself back, as the way Massa can, requires different level of mindset, and to do it constantly, it`s just heroic. In this team, everybody expects the best results only from Alonso and he feels it. So, theres no other way than only perform. to look it like that, he`s got needle in his rearend and combined with all the effort from his team, i don`t feel it`s very hard to deliver.

16

Charles Pic was my driver of the day. Stayed in touch with the Caterham’s and thoroughly beat Timo Glock.

Webber done a better job than he gets credit for, if KERS is really 0.4 of a second per lap as they say he lost 18 seconds over the period he was KERSless. That’s not even taking into account brake balance and tyre degeneration based on it.

17
ForWhatIt'sWorth

I made a comment a while ago that Red Bull would develop their car to suit Vettel’s driving style and that seems to be the case.

Not saying Red Bull are deliberately disadvantaging Webber but the developments have made Vettel faster comparatively.

Webber was brilliant to hold off Hamilton without KERS.

Alonso showed his usual genius – love watching him.

But how can you go past Vettel when he dominates the race like that? I don’t like the finger boy any more than others BTW.

Also should mention Ricciardo. His lap times were top 10 pace and way faster than JEV.

Hope he’s getting noticed.

18

Hey mate, is it just me or might u sense that it is always poor Mark with some kind of failure on his car? Something not right here…..

19

It HAS TO BE Alonso.

Yesterday he drove the wheels off that Ferrari. Regardless of how well Vettel is driving (which he is), it doesn’t seem he needs to dig so deep, that’s why people is not voting him.

I loved the detail of Vettel, then Alonso then Button doing the fastest lap on the last lap. Both FA and JB knew it would hurt SV a little bit and went for it.

20

After a spectacular opening season with 7 different winners towards a thriller finish with the ultimate battle; man against the machine, that is offcurse Alonso Vs RB8. What a season..!!

21
Tornillo Amarillo

It is MASSA for me.

He holds Kimi for almost the whole race, having fuel problems, arriving 6th for valuable points in the constructor championship for Ferrari and getting points from McLaren

22
Tornillo Amarillo

(from McLaren in the WCC, not the race)

23

Err… wait. Sebastian Vettel “Arrived in India having led every single lap of the last three races to assume the championship lead.”

Unless I missed a race, I’m pretty sure Hamilton was leading Singapore for 22 laps.

Vettel is fast, there’s no doubt about it– but his speed seems dependent on clean air.

Overall, the race was boring enough that I nominate David Hobbs for DOTD.

24

Hobbs was a very quick driver in his day.

Quite fiery, too.

25

Vettel has at the moment the best car for qualifying. The Ferrari and Red Bull were close in the race. Vettel grabbed the pole with Webber’s mistake. Mark seemed to have an edge here over Vettel, but couldn’t make it stick when it mattered. Vettel drove away, making his tires last laps longer than others. Had Alonso qualified on pole, I would have expected him to win the race. I can see why so many voted for Alonso, but I have to go with Vettel since he won. They both were close. This will be an exciting end to the season!

26

Massa is a joke: drives three vaguely decent races, signs the contract and goes straight back to lethargy! With the blessing of the despicable Domenicali who should try to produce a decent car as a change…..and stop losing championship fetr championship with the best driver availble and the most generous budget.

27

Massa had ‘critical’ levels of fuel for the majority of the race and was on pretty much an economy drive…

28
Spinodontosaurus

I do belive Massa did not have some of the updates on the car that Alonso did. Nothing wrong with his performance whith this considered.

29

Because this season is comming to a point where Seb and Alonso are being hammered relentlessly by the opposite camp, as an Alonso fan i would like to say that although I think Alonso does deserve this championship, Vettel is doing one hell of a season as well. The ferrari is not a bad car at all, and at present is slightly ahead of mclaren and only lacks quali pace to face RBR. What I think is fair to say is that when RBR was not dominant this season and was going through a rough patch, Vettel was good but not outstanding, more or less doing the same as webber: it’s the front grid lock outs which favour Vettel’s driving style, and I think he’s practically unbeatable in that circumstance.

30

I feel Alonso’s performance was flattered by Webber’s KERless car that was 80hp down on power.

Webber would have finished ahead of Alonso. Red Bull and Seb may well pay the price for running KERs with such fine margins for error.

That and the unproven alternators may be the recipe for a season ending Red Bull meltdown.

Ferrari’s slow but rock solid reliable car could be the tortoise that beats the hare.

31

I actually feel genuinely upset about the prospect of Vettel winning the title. Nothing agianst him as such, but I think anyone with a romantic streak about this sport is surely rooting for Alonso at the minute.

32

Totally agree – although the true romantic would want Raikkonen to get it this year, if not him, then Alonso.

Looking at both these drivers, one thing has united them – consistancy in a car that is not the quickest.

I cannot remember any commentary this year that has said “Vettel has finished higher than the car has deserved”. He has undoubted skill and executes the tactic “Qualify at the front; hammer first couple of laps; then pace it” perfectly.

Yes, this takes skill. But think Vettel misses the extra ingredient of over performing in an under performing car.

Alonso has done this, consistently. Just look at the performance differences between him and Massa for the majority of this season. And for anyone who now says Massa has the edge on Alonso, just look at who has the most to loose for a mistake at this point in the season (now Massa has his contract sewn up!).

33

It has to be Alonso.

34

Process of elimination.

Personally I’m not sure that Hamilton is a contender. Not that he did anything wrong but he didn’t really do anything spectacular either, and finished in the same position as that in which he started.

Webber too gets dismissed – 3rd is good, but not when you are in arguably the best car and you started second. Vettel can go too. He drove superbly as ever, but it’s difficult to provide excitement when you’re already at the front. This is why the Schumacher/Ferrari years were so dull.

Which leaves us with Senna, Hulkenberg and Alonso.

All three put in solid performances. But I’m going to give it to Senna. Recovered from his mistake in qualifying to score himself some points at a time when he was under pressure to do so.

35

I wonder which of Lewis Hamilton or the McLaren team will be most regretting their separation mid-way through next season.

36

Dear James,

Speaking of reliability, do we know where the top 8 drivers, stand in terms of Engine Usage.

8 Engines to last over 20 races.

Alonso has practically saved 2 race distances (Spa & Suzuka) both quite hard on the engine. This is the only advantage that can be gained from being taken out in the first corner / first lap.

This could be a blessing in disguise.

Vivek

37

Fernando Alonso. The guy just battled and battles the whole way. Like he has done at pretty much every race this season. Don’t count him out…however strong Red Bull appear to be!

Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg drove well, though a lot of the hard work was done by a very good start, he then kept up the pace to pick up good points. Bruno Senna’s racecraft was good; Bruno’s qualifying may be poor, but some of his Sunday drives have been pretty damn good actually. I’d put this one up there close to his efforts in Malaysia and Hungary.

Copybook from Sebastian Vettel, who certainly likes the Buddh International Circuit. He’ll probably be forced to race in a buggy next year…and may still pick up some points!

38

Has to be Fernando. I’m still surprised people are banging on about the F2012 being no good when you get Fernando on the podium and Felipe in 5th with not all the updates as on Alonsos car. A few times this year now we see a car trailing two car fighting for position and the car behind get this massive “wind tunnel” like effect that was clearly evident with Fernando on the Lewis/Jenson. Then the driver behind thinks he’s king shit. The way all three drove there was outstanding and was the highlight of the race for me.

Did anyone see the overtake Lewis did on Jenson- it wasn’t shown was it ???.

39

My recollection is it was shown – it was just a DRS manouevre, nothing special. JB seemed to be a bit of a sitting duck at that stage of the race.

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