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Korea Grand Prix – Who was your Driver of the Day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Oct 2013   |  6:00 pm GMT  |  321 comments

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel closed in on his fourth successive world title with a commanding victory in the Korean Grand Prix.

Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen produced another trademark drive through the field to finish second ahead of another strong showing from team-mate Romain Grosjean.

Nico Hulkenberg was mighty in the Sauber, punching above his weight to secure his best result of the season in fourth while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton battled tyre problems to take fifth. But who was your Driver of the Day?

Sebastian Vettel

Won his eighth race of the season to move to the brink of his fourth world title. Led away cleanly from pole and was very disciplined in his first stint as he managed his tyres. Reacted well at both the safety car restarts to ensure Grosjean and then Raikkonen couldn’t get close enough to launch an attack. Controlled the race from then on, setting the fastest lap in the process, to take his fifth victory in six races. Extended his lead over nearest rival Alonso to 77 points with just 125 remaining and could mathematically win the title at the next race in Japan.

Kimi Raikkonen

Recovered from a disappointing qualifying to take his eighth podium of the season. Started from ninth on the grid but made up a place with a pass around the outside of Daniel Ricciardo. Struggled to make more progress, but an early pit stop gave him free air and also saw him gain track position to third when the safety car came out. Passed Grosjean when he made a mistake with a bold move up the inside into Turn One but couldn’t catch Vettel and settled for second.

Romain Grosjean

Lost out during the two safety car periods but still impressed to finish on the podium. Made a brilliant getaway from third to pass Hamilton from second. Maintained a gap to leader Vettel early on while holding a comfortable lead over Hamilton. Two safety car periods meant he was unable to go as deep into the stint as he’d hoped in order to attempt to challenge Vettel. Made a mistake on track which allowed Raikkonen to pass and was unable to fight back immediately as they entered a yellow flag zone. Finished third for his third podium of the year.

Nico Hulkenberg

Delivered his best performance of the season with a mature drive to fourth. Passed Alonso at the start to run fifth and utilised the Sauber’s impressive traction to stay ahead. Slick pit work from the team, combined with some clever defensive driving ensured he maintained track position. Passed Hamilton after the safety car restart to run fourth and then defended the position from Hamilton bravely for nearly 20 laps. Lost the place to Hamilton at Turn One, but immediately passed the Mercedes back down the straight and ultimately finished fourth.

Lewis Hamilton

Looked in contention for a podium before struggling with tyre-wear and battling to fifth. Made a decent getaway, but couldn’t hold off the fast starting Hulkenberg. Showed good pace in the first stint, staying within six seconds of leader Vettel. Struggled in the middle phase of the race, at one point losing up to three seconds a lap with fading tyres. Forced to stay out an extra lap because the team needed to service team-mate Rosberg’s broken front wing. Looked strong in the final stint but though he put consistent pressure on Hulkenberg, couldn’t find a way past and finished fifth.

Click here to vote for your Driver of the Day in Korea

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I pick DOTD based on who appears to punch above their weight during the race – regardless of how they ended up on the starting grid.

Vettel started P1 and given his car advantage as well as his supreme driving, he merely achieved what he should have. The two SC’s weren’t enough of a hindrance to really force him into having to do anything special. That’s not to say he isn’t driving impeccably though. It just isn’t giving me the goose bumpys.

Alonso was purely average today. Massa didn’t finish that far behind him – oh no wait. He did finish that far behind. I guess Massa is just “driving for himself” now. Anyway Alonso made a sloppy pass on Hamilton that Hamilton immediately got back when Alonso opened the door. Not the hard racing we’re used to seeing from him. I was actually surprised he wasn’t referred to the stewards for repeatedly going wide at (I think) T6 almost every lap. It was T6 wasn’t it? He was fully off the track almost every time we saw him through there. He never gained a position doing it, but surely it gave him an advantage to keep others behind. Oh well, he’s mortal after all. And the Ferrari is red poo.

Webber could have achieved the accolade had he finished P2 (a minimum given the RB car advantage). He was moving up the grid strongly and marched past Alonso when he cooked his bull. Aussie barbie indeed. He might have even caught the Lotuses which would’ve been fun to see.

Grosjean is pretty close to DOTD. If he’d kept Kimi behind him I think he’d have been a real contender for DOTD. He was hurt by the SC’s but regardless, it was his mistake that allowed Kimi past, and he made an ill-timed lunge at Kimi during said pass which looked a bit amateur. His whining over the radio didn’t help, but they all whine on the radio so I won’t count that against him this time. This time. Well, ok, I will count it against him.

Hamilton and Rosberg. Meh. Their team let them both down. Kimi must’ve accidently punched Nico’s car in the nose instead of punching Perez. That was a weird front wing failure. Meanwhile Hamilton was swearing at his team giving what I thought were pretty clear instructions that he was driving on spoons and should probably come in for a tire change (and strategy change too presumably). In the resulting team meltdown they brought them in in completely the wrong order and killed both their races. The pain of a slow stop for Rosberg was nicely added to the pain of watching Hamilton continue for another lap on the Pirelli spoons. Perhaps the team can eat humble pie with those. At least the mistake with Hamilton gave us something to watch at the end as he hunted down Hulkenberg. EPIC TEAM FAIL.

Kimi benefitted mightily from the SC’s. But he and his strategists made great use of them too, undercutting the opposition. He drove in that measured, assured way right up until that Hail Mary down the inside of Grosjean which was mega. Very, very close to DOTD. But not quite….

Ah Hulkenberg. In a Sauber. A team which is almost bankrupt but for a few spare rubles not being spent on Sochi. Ferrari engine (I know, Alonso, I KNOW!) Same tires as everyone else. But a Red Bullish aero update and a stellar, gritty, strategic drive. The radio messages we heard from him were calm, collected and totally in focus. Punching above his weight? I think so. Zis ist de DOTD ja? JA!

Bring on Japan.


I have the inkling of an idea that 2014 will be Pirelli’s final year, because there may be rather more tyre incidents related to the higher torque producing engines. If that proves to be the case, and Michelin step in with durable tyres in 2015 it will prove to be the biggest upset in the last five years.


Methinks everyone’s fooled by FOM and FIA! These two give to TV feed parts they’ve chosen and edited from the radio comm between stands and drivers, to spice up their after-show and excite fans of all birds!

But not much to do with truth!

They create lengthy debate after the race because of them extracts!

in any case

DOTD Grosjean

for this reason :

Gap average between Vettel & Grosjean on 42 of the 55 (in/out laps pits & SC laps omitted) :

average :4.154s

greatest : 6.481 lap 53

smallest : 2.108 lap 1

on lap 30 before 1st SC :

Grosjean 5.411 behind Vettel

Raikkonen 51.835 behind Vettel

I don’t remember a driver having performed so regularly and so well behind Vettel in a GP this season.


Nico Hulkenberg – I hope he gets a decent drive next year he desserves it!


Seb: another superb, remarkless drive leading to another Grand Chelem.


DOTD: Hulk

Not because the finished high up but for his mental toughness over a loooong time during the race. The Sauber car was a nice surprise (that comes and goes season after season) but the fact that Nico drove error-free knowing that the big guns were behind him gives extra credit. congrats!


Hulk, but there was some very good drives today.


I think the most telling quote was from Alan Permane about the pass on Romain:

“Kimi got lucky, but Kimi puts himself in a position to make the use of that luck. So good for him as well,”

It’s part of his racecraft. Don’t give him an inch, don’t make a mistake in front of him and expect him not to pounce.

Nico was equally inch perfect on Sunday afternoon when he needed to be.

Circumstances forced one to be attacking; the other defending. How do you decide one driver was better than the other? I thought both performances stellar.


The secret in Nico’s “defense” was that actually he was defending much, but racing. In that act alone he could maintain his own rhythm which otherwise would be affected and he would falter. Congrats, I always new that he is a proper racer. Now pls. one decent seat for the fella in 2014.


easily NICO HULKENBERG ,by a mile in a fact .

if some top team owner doesnt sign this guy up soon for a perfomance like this, its a bloody disgrace.


Very Easily Kimi Raikkonen DOTD again ! He started 9th and finished 2nd. He passed Alonso, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Button, Perez and Grosjean along the way. The last one was brilliant and he managed to keep him behind him on older tyres. This is the smartest driver in F1. Lotus is not a P1 car so what he does is ensure he gives 100% to set up for Race day. He always says he must do better blah, blah- but he’s not silly he’s worked out the right balance between quali and race- sure he’s not been great at quali more than once but he always makes for up for it.Very rarely do you ever get the feeling the car could have finished higher on Sunday- except for strategy calls by the team but he is always there on the podium and finished ahead occasionally like Hungary when every fool is bagging him for his Sat performance. It’s not lost to me that he was the fastest qualifier on earth with diff regs and he’s not lost that much pace to be that far away on Sat without a car reason to do so. He was and I’m happy to say after Korea- still is the best racer Ive seen since he entered F1.

Hulkenberg started 7th and finished 4th. Sauber I think have “done a Red Bull” with traction and there top speed was brilliant and they had the advantage over Merc in both depts. brilliant drive by Nico Hulkenberg- people must remember – he’s driving for his f1 career now- as he doesn’t have a contract and his critical mass is making it difficult for him. He had to excel and Im happy he succeeded. He passed Hamilton and then defended brilliantly for the whole race. Great job Nico !! and if I were team principal these are the two I have wanted in my team for some time.


Next year will be an interesting comparison at Ferrari. The professional commentators are expecting Alonso to come out on top. Certainly Kimi has been very good at making things happen, but a fast car is race conditions and excellent tyre usage opens a lot of options strategically.

His being the fastest driver in say 2005 has to be considered in the context that McLaren designed a very aggressive car. It blew many engines due to the cooling being constrained to aid aero performance. He’s an excellent driver, but a couple of seasons being faster than Coulthard and Montoya isn’t a strong claim to being the quickest out there and his adaptability is an issue that potentially constrains car development.

His tyre management is better than Hamilton’s, but in wheel-to-wheel decision making, Hamilton for me still the best in the field. Vettel has been excellent in recent years at passing, but that has often been about exploiting performance – we’ve rarely seen him defend. A few of the passes you mention were through undercuts rather than on track. Perez and Grosjean made errors. Ricciardo was in a Toro Rosso trying to conserve tyres.


Martin everyone I mentioned Was passed on track ! Maybe not Button .Some of them were passed on the undercut again ! (Hamilton, Alonso, Hulkenberg). This is the problem people watch races but don’t really pay attention to what’s going on.

Montoya was the real deal, as was Massa before his accident- he was in career best form. People are still talking up Grosjean (I don’t know why) – and he’s decimated him. You forget car failures in 2003 left him only 16pts away from Michael Schumacher in 2003 title fight. 2004 Mac was crap. 2005- he Was a dead ringer (only a few pts) for Alonsos title were it not for several car failures !!. Next year will be a very tough challenge- but Kimi won’t disappoint either.

Your argument on car development is very, very wrong. Lotus is living proof– just ask James Allison. Why do you think Ferrari have re-signed him- this is the single biggest reason along with Allison- the experience and ability to get a car exactly where it should be – Never Doubt this !. If your suggesting he needs the car a certain way – I won’t argue with that- but which top driver doesn’t – why do you think Seb is king at the moment- because he has exactly what he wants and the best resources in the world to do it!!. My hope is that Ferrari really pay close attention to the specifics of what he needs. Kimi has played with more categories of cars and bikes than most people and he has a natural gift for feeling exactly what’s needed in a car. After two years out and different tyres and DRS, to contend with – he was immediately on it from the first turn of the wheel to challenging Seb at Bahrain only 4 races later. I’m still astonished at how often people miss things with Kimi – and I was never wrong when I said he would be on the podium several times in his first year with 1 or 2 wins (Bahrain dammit)…


Without passion we are hollow.. Without the truth we are nothing.


Hi Elie,

You write with the passion of a fan. However, it does you no favours to suggest what I or others remember.

Apart from knowing how to win, success is pretty irrelevant in judging ability. That Raikkonen won several times in 2005 and not at all in 2006 tells us nothing about his driving. Alonso + Renault were the best package in those two seasons. Not often the fastest, but generally more reliable when it mattered. That result doesn’t tell me anything about what will happen in 2014.

On car development, you are getting defensive and reading things I didn’t write. If a driver can understeering or oversteering car then that allows the development engineers greater freedom and the race engineers job easier. In Kimi’s case this only seems to be relevant for qualifying at the moment. But if next year’s Ferrari is relatively quick in qualifying but slower in the race, like the Mercedes has been, then grid positions are vital and making the driver happy is a key part of that process.


Btw- Kimi would not ask someone how to get passed someone – he would just do it.. And unlike Seb, Lewis and even Fernando he rarely touches anyone!— unless of course THEY go into him. Lewis is more aggressive wheel to wheel but he often makes mistakes.



If anyone thinks otherwise is a shame.

Wonderful drive…. brilliantly aspiring.


Hulkenberg ofcourse, followed by Grosjean and Alonso. Its a shame Rosberg had problems with his nose, else he could’ve sneaked into the top 3 ( pun intended ! ).

James, any news on the Williams line up next year ? They are now permanent backmarkers and it must be awfully difficule to judge a drivers pace when the car is such a dog. Maldonado seems to have a lot of raw pace, and Bottas has shown maturity. Can one be certain that both will be retained for next year ? Thanks.


Hulk easy


Can’t tell, stayed in my bed for very obvious reasons.


DOTD without any question Hulk.

A reality check for Lewis, there are many better than him, apparently…

Seb, sensational as always, the man-machine in F1, perfection at work. Who does not see greatness watching this guy will miss the joy for years.


Something undoubtably debatabe to add here so here goes! With the Redbull/vettel success undoubtably (in my eyes) being down to Adrian newey and it now coming across as a bit of a Shumacher style boredom fest which i feel will effect the Redbull brand on that basis would Redbull not be better (to preserve there brand value/respect) not be better shipping out there drivers every 2-3yrs max and bringing in other drivers as there’s easily at least 6 other drivers on the grid that would do as well if not better than Vettel, thus also if anything strengthening the Redbull commercial image as they are still winning pretty much as much???


Aw… you want your driver to win?


Who pointed at anything than a deterant away from a Schumacher type borefest???


Vettel for driver of the weekend, once again he spanked the field.

As for driver of the day, Kimi. A great drive and a good pass on his teammate to end up second. Only if he would have qualified better…

Hulkenburg drove a good race, but the straight line speed of the Sauber made it hard for anyone to pass.


For me it is clear. DOTD: Fernando Alonso. What he gets out of this little red bobbycar is sooo impressive. How he passed Hulkenberg yesterday, just WOOOW!, or Petrov in Abu Dhabi 2010 oder Maldonado in Barcelona in 2012 or Maldonado in Singapore 2012, just AMAZING.

He really is the best.

So the ranking for KoreanGP is:

1. Alonso, 2. Hulkenberg, 3. Kimi, 4. Vettel


WOOW! Only three drivers did manage to keep Alonso behind when he is on attack mode? Absolutely AMAZING! That statistic just shows what an absolute cannibal Alonso is!


Dont disturb his Alonso Fantasy, he’s about to have multiple orgasms right now 😛


Without a doubt Nico Hulkenberg excellent driver skill and race craft for goodness sake some team higher up the grid should give him a go Perez out Hulkenberg in or into the lotus seat


James, irrelevant here, but as as thought. Could Adrian Newey be heading to McLaren. i have a feeling he would. McLaren Honda and the regulations to come next year could be the challenges, Adrian cant resist


It would most likely be Ross Brawn, But if Mclaren could scoop Adrian, Alonso would jump ship in an instant.


Driver of the day, quite a few contenders…

Rosberg for driving a fireworks car the mechanics can’t put a nose on.

Pastor Maldy for letting 4 cars pass him in two corners without taking himself out.

Di Resta (wall) and Sutil (backward driver) for getting in a Force India car that used to be good and now is so bad it tries to take them out every chance it gets.

Seb for not hitting the FIAs Korean 4×4 on it’s school run.

Alonso for pretending the Ferrari is still a front runner and not a mid-field dog as Massa does, plus for telling Hembrey how it is after qually.

Grosjean for his first lap overtake and just about containing a Seb style whinge that he was faster than Kimi at the end, – get him out of the way!

Kimi for fooling everyone into thinking he is so slow in qualifying, again, that he sneaks through with the safety cars to 2nd.

Lewis for not chewing his front left, rear left and rear right tyres. For realising his tyres were shot and losing 5s per lap so he pitted. Erm, no scratch that one.

Massa for showing that the mirrors are fine while driving backwards and avoiding his teammate.

Perez for not ‘punching Hemberey’s lights out’ after he implied the delamination is Sergios fault for locking up.

Hulk for borrowing Sebs traction control to wind up Lewis.

Webber for trying to put out his barbecue that got out of control, despite not needing his barbecue next year.


Car of the day is the new race fast, Q3 making, Sauber-Ferrari. Luca di Monty should paint it red and give it to Alonso and Massa.




Haha, love it 🙂


It’s clear – Nico H.

Btw: another Niko R. was much faster than Lewis this time. It looks like Niko is more better with tyres than Lewis. When tyre is not a problem – there Lewis is faster.


Kimi attacked and nailed:-

– a Future RedBull driver

– his Future Teamate at Ferrari

– his soon to be ex-mate at Lotus

& finished right behind his friend & closest rival…, who both then took a private jet from Korea to Japan with some babes and a few drinks to celebrate.

Kimi Raikkonen is Easily the Man of the Year 2013. Hulk, lets give him driver of the day 🙂


That was great 😀


I am a die hard Kimi Fan and I’m sadden to see Kimi Leave Lotus…. He is giving us the Senna era at JPS Lotus feel… Sad to see it part….

He seems rather depressed at Ferrari in 2008 and 2009….. So, it was disturbing to find him there again…. Wish he could’ve stayed at Lotus… For without Kimi I see Lotus heading into the Twilight.


If only he could qualify a bit better in that fast black and gold car, then he wouldn’t need the safety cars to help get him to second place in Singapore and Korea.

Can’t wait to see Alonso V Kimi next year though.


The safety car condition is equal to everyone, he was third before the safety car, some luck yes, but generally you have to seek your own luck.


you nailed it mate.


Vettel was flawless. I’ll give him driver of the weekend. Give Hulkenberg driver of the day for keeping a faster Ferrari behind him for 50 laps.

So much for Alonso’s race craft…

Couldn’t pass a Sauber…


He’d have a better shot in Korea driving “somebody else’s car” … like Guittierez’s.


Ferrari was quicker than the Sauber. Hulkenberg beat Alonso with superior race craft.

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