Tag Archives: Sebastian Vettel

F1 paddock divided over unpredictable season

The unprecedented start to the 2012 F1 season has put F1 in the spotlight for many different reasons. With 6 different winners from 6 races, we still have absolutely no idea who will be leading the championship by the next race.

However, with such excitement comes plenty of controversy, as F1 followers are used to.

Over the past few weeks, complaints have grown about the “unpredictability” of the season so far. Die-hard purists have been disappointed with the topsy-turvy grid order, and some have speculated that this may turn fans away from the sport.

Mark Webber was one of several drivers to note the “random” nature of this season, saying:

"It's very unusual, normally in seasons gone by you had a clear break of people who 
were going to be favourites for the Championship but it's very difficult to know 
which teams or drivers are going to be in the best position with three or four races 
to go.

I think for the fans it's interesting for them, but I don't know if they will get 
sick of seeing so many different winners.

It's nice to have so many different winners but also it's always good to have 
rivals, people fighting for the Championship and having lots of different people 
always fighting."

Interestingly, this comment was made before his win at the Monaco Grand Prix, and he has not repeated this statement since. However, McLaren driver Jenson Button has not backed down, claiming that numerous different winners will turn fans off from the sport:

"Clearly everyone is excited about so many different winners, which initially was 
great for the fans and great for the sport.

But there will come a time when the fans will say, 'So anyone can win a grand prix, 
everyone can lose a grand prix like that?' (snaps his fingers). I think they're 
finding it a little bit strange now."

Button has of course suffered a drop in form in recent races, and has not competed for a race win since Melbourne.

Former world champion Niki Lauda has been the most vocal of all:

"We have been surprised. But if it continues, we’ll lose spectators as the main 
public wants to see world champions winning.

We need two races with known winners and then the crazy stuff can start again."

It should be noted that when he won the world championship in 1984, there were only 5 race winners in the entire season. Also, I feel the need to add that 4 of the 6 race winners so far this season are “known winners”.

However, it has not been all complaining from the F1 paddock. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh attacked what he called the “180 degree change” of opinion from many people:

"If people now say randomness is unattractive, then that is a 180 [degree change] 
from what people felt a few years ago when it was very predictable.

On balance I am sure that people want a lack of predictability. You want to go to 
each event not knowing who is going to win. You want to go through the course of 
the weekend not sure what is going to happen in each session, and you want to go 
through the race not knowing what is going to happen. Every one of our races this 
year has been tremendously exciting."

Pirelli, who are the cause of much of this unpredictability, were adamant that their tyres provide a well-needed shake-up of the F1 grid. Motorsport director Paul Hembery claimed that this type of racing was exactly what the fans wanted to see:

"The vast majority of feedback we get is that people are enjoying the races. At 
the start of the year, if we had said five different winners and five different 
cars then everyone would have suggested you had been smoking something - but we 
have got it.

And I think the vast majority of fans will be pleased to see exciting races. 
Anyone who begrudges Maldonado's win in Spain with Williams is someone who needs 
to get out a bit more, because the whole paddock was delighted. I think for a 
lot of people's views, that is what they want to see."

Obviously, there will be many different opinions on any debate in F1. However, I feel that the most important quote from this debacle comes from Sebastian Vettel, the driver who effectively flattened the 2011 title race. After a processional battle for the title last year, Vettel came out in full support of the 2012 formula:

"If you look back ten years there was heavy criticism of a boring F1 because 
of Michael Schumacher winning all the time. Now we hear F1 is unpredictable 
and a lottery.

You cannot satisfy all of the people all of the time. But I think we have a 
good show, a lot of overtaking, good action now.There is more tension – for 
people who watch and for us inside the cars. I think I like the way it is 
going. However, we have to be careful not to create something artificially."

Vettel fends off Raikkonen for Bahrain GP win

Vettel creates a lead at the start

Vettel creates a lead at the start

Sebastian Vettel has taken his first win of the year at the Bahrain Grand Prix. He held off the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen during the middle stint, and then created a gap to cruise to victory. Romain Grosjean drove an excellent race to take his first podium of his F1 career. The McLarens had a horrific race, with Lewis Hamilton suffering multiple pit problems, and Jenson Button multiple car problems. Here is what happened:

At the start, Vettel held his lead, while Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso leaped up the grid. Daniel Ricciardo swiftly slipped down the field to 17th, after starting from 6th.

Jenson Button lost out, falling to 6th, while Felipe Massa pulled himself up to 9th. Heikki Kovalainen suffered a puncture on the first lap, falling to the back of the field.

Massa continued his good start, shoving his way past Kimi Raikkonen at turns 1 and 2. However, the Lotus driver was having none of it, retrieving his position on lap 5.

Grosjean impressively moved up to 3rd, and in the early stages closed the gap to Hamilton in 2nd. A DRS-assisted move put him past the McLaren. Meanwhile the other Lotus sailed past Jenson Button for 6th.

Button, Massa and Rosberg all stopped suddenly on lap 9, all taking on the medium tyre. It soon turned out to be the correct move, as their teammates all stopped the next lap. However, Hamilton’s pit stop turned out to be a disaster, losing him over 5 seconds.

Rosberg pushes Hamilton off the limits of the track

Rosberg pushes Hamilton off the limits of the track

Lewis emerged alongside Nico Rosberg, and pushed the track well beyond its extremes, running onto the concrete to keep the position. However, the stewards took a dim view of the clever move, and put the two drivers under investigation.

Button soon forced his way past Alonso for 7th. Paul di Resta inherited the lead while Vettel pitted, but was soon passed by the Red Bull. Kimi Raikkonen continued his ascent, scything past Webber for 5th.

Approaching the next pit stop phase, Raikkonen also moved past teammate Grosjean for 2nd. Another disastrous pitstop awaited Hamilton on lap 24 however, a faulty wheel nut delaying him by another 10 seconds.

Another pit stop problem for Hamilton

Another pit stop problem for Hamilton

After the pit stops, Fernando Alonso began to fight Nico Rosberg for 8th. The Mercedes driver attempted a similar move he put on Hamilton, pushing the Ferrari clean onto the conrecte, forcing Fernando to surrender the position. However, the stewards also disapproved of this move, and similarly put them under investigation after the race.

A spin by Pastor Maldonado at turn 2 dealt fatal damage to the Williams, forcing him to retire.

Paul di Resta, who took a different strategy to the rest of the field, was running 4th on lap 29, after only stopping once. However, he was soon caught and passed by Mark Webber, who had stopped twice.

On lap 35, the battle for the lead became clear. Raikkonen had cleared all the cars in his way, and was all over the back of Vettel’s Red Bull. They tussled for several laps, allowing teammate Grosjean to move closer to the duo. As the race entered the final 20 laps, strategy became crucial as to who would win the race.

Both Vettel and Raikkonen pitted on lap 40, with Sebastian gaining a slight advantage over the stop. Over the next 15 laps, it became a battle of tyre conservation as Vettel did his best to hold off the Lotus, while keeping his tyres under control.

Vettel returns to the top step of the podium

Vettel returns to the top step of the podium

Nico Rosberg found himself stuck behind Paul di Resta, finding that DRS was insufficient to pass the Force India. With 4 laps to go, he finally made the move, and leaped into 5th place.

Jenson Button closed in on Di Resta, but a surprise puncture threw the McLaren out of the top 10 with only 3 laps to go. His bad luck didn’t end there though, as a cracked exhaust and several other problems forced Jenson to retire.

Raikkonen’s charge was quelled, as he lacked the pace to catch the Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel crossed the line first, to take his first win of 2012, and the lead of the drivers championship. Oddly, he was instructed to pull over after the chequered flag, and the same instruction was given to Nico Rosberg.

Paul di Resta held off Fernando Alonso crossing the line to equal his best Grand Prix result of 6th place.

Vettel takes first pole of 2012 in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel is back on pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The 2-times world champion pipped Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second, with teammate Mark Webber in 3rd. Nico Rosberg was 5th, while neither Michael Schumacher or Kimi Raikkonen were in the top 10. Here is the full report:

Q1

Paul di Resta was the first out on track, as a headwind at turn 4 hindered some teams’ setups. Nico Hulkenberg set the first fast lap of 1:35.970.

Fernando Alonso surprised many by taking on the softer tyres, indicating that Ferrari wish to conserve the medium tyres for the race tomorrow.  While teammate Massa went slower than the Force Indias and Daniel Ricciardo, Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time by half a second.

The bar was soon lowered by Mark Webber, and then Jenson Button. Unsurprisingly, Alonso’s softer tyres soon put him on top.

Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean beat the fastest time by another 0.5 seconds. The track went quiet until the final few minutes, when Jean-Eric Vergne and Felipe Massa pulled themselves out of the drop zone.

Because track evolution is such a factor in Bahrain, Kamui Kobauashi went 2nd, then Daniel Ricciardo went on top using the soft tyres. Sergio Perez then pipped the Toro Rosso by 0.1 seconds to end the session on top.

Michael Schumacher was pushed down to 17th by Pastor Maldonado, then a last-gasp flyer by Heikki Kovalainen put him into Q2, and knocked the Mercedes out of Q1. Amazingly, the track evolution was so severe that the McLarens were left 15th and 16th.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Michael Schumacher

19) Jean-Eric Vergne

20) Vitaly Petrov

21) Charles Pic

22) Timo Glock

23) Narain Karthikeyan

24) Pedro de la Rosa

Q2

There was a slow response to the start of Q2, with Felipe Massa finally exiting the pits after a few minutes.

He set the intial pace, but was quickly beaten by Perez by 0.6 seconds. Hamilton and Rosberg both set 1:33.2s to take the top 2 spots.

Massa’s later attempt put him 9th. However, he was soon pushed out by Daniel Ricciardo. Paul di Resta went 5th, with the fastest final sector of any driver.

Fernando Alonso was pushed down to 13th, but his final lap put him back up to 4th. Romain Grosjean moved up to 3rd, but at the expense of teammate Raikkonen, who was knocked out of Q2.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Kimi Raikkonen

12) Kamui Kobayashi

13) Nico Hulkenberg

14) Felipe Massa

15) Bruno Senna

16) Heikki Kovalainen

17) Pastor Maldonado

Q3

With track evolution still a massive factor, the end of the session proved to be the climactic finish everyone was expecting.

A nasty lock-up slowed Webber’s first lap, but he still set a 1:32.785. Button was several hundreths off, while Hamilton went a tenth faster than the Red Bull.

Only 4 drivers set times in the first half of Q3, as everyone waited until the final 3 minutes to set their fast laps.

Nico Rosberg was first up, losing out by one tenth of a second. Mark Webber went fastest, before having his lap time shattered by teammate Vettel. Hamilton was 0.1 seconds off Sebastian, while Jenson Button aborted his final lap to finish 4th.

This left Vettel on pole position for the first time in 2012, with Hamilton close behind. Webber and Button will fill row 2, with Rosberg and Ricciardo behind. Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez were 7th and 8th, with Fernando Alonso and Paul di Resta not setting a time.

Malaysian Grand Prix analysis: Victories for the underdogs

The Malaysian Grand Prix will go down as a thrilling and unforgettable race. Not just because of the shuffled order, or the heavy rain showers, but because of the fierce and spirited drives that put so many surprise faces on top. A brilliant drive from Sergio Perez, an unrelenting charge from Fernando Alonso, and a quiet ascent to 6th for Bruno Senna was what made this race special.

Perez – the man of the moment

Few will argue that Sergio Perez’s drive was anything but spectacular. A good strategy call at the start put him up to 3rd, and he held the position under treacherous conditions.

Once the track dried out, he demonstrated Button-like prowess on the damp track, eating into Alonso’s lead relentlessly. A poor final pit stop, as well as a slip near the end, cost him the victory, but he has still made his point.

It is the first time since 1971 that a Mexican driver has put a foot on the podium – the last time was for Pedro Rodriguez, 19 years before Sergio was even born.

With such a great performance, the top teams have surely taken a good look at the young Sauber driver. Which leads us to…

Massa bashing: Round 2

Another atrocious drive from Felipe Massa, another reason for Ferrari to ditch the beleaguered driver. And with Sergio Perez seemingly knocking on the door, the Brazilian surely won’t be around for too long.

As his teammate crossed the line to take the chequered flag, Massa was 5 seconds away from being lapped. He now sits 19th in the driver’s championship, behind the Marussias, while Alonso leads the title hunt. There’s no denying that the gap between the two is growing immeasurably long.

The Ferrari F2012 is a handful, but it deserves to be finishing higher than 15th place. I make no secret of my disliking of Massa, and his dismal performances only make this view worse.

Another side of Sebastian Vettel?

As the Red Bull team slip behind McLaren, we are now granted the opportunity to see how Vettel handles with not having the fastest car on the grid. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten off to the best start.

His clip into Narain Karthikeyan may seem insignificant, but it shows a very poor attitude from the German driver. He seemed to move across Narain’s path, then showed obscene gestures when his tyre blew as a result.

Afterwards, he referred to him as a “cucumber”, which is just about the oddest insult I’ve heard in a long time. It appears as if he hasn’t learned from Turkey 2010, when he refused to take responsibility for clashing with Mark Webber.

Granted, he’s not in the position he wants to be, but this is no excuse for his behaviour. A true driver’s colours are shown when he’s dealt a bad hand – just look at Fernando Alonso. Vettel appears rattled, and will need to cap his temper if he wants to claw his way back to the top.

Reviewed: Meet Sebastian Vettel

"Meet Sebastian Vettel"

"Meet Sebastian Vettel"

Considering how popular the top Formula 1 drivers are across the world, it’s surprising how little of them have English biographies on them.

The only two exceptions would be Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher. However, after his much publicised successes in recent years, Sebastian Vettel has joined the oddly exclusive club.

However, his book is not much to write home about. Considering his already-illustrious career in F1, and the vast background of his junior racing career, it was severely disappointing to see this book was only 142 pages long.

A lot of this is taken up by glossy photos – some very nice ones, it has to be said. However, the text that remains is not particularly impressive. It sweeps over many important points of his career – half a paragraph is given to his collision with Mark Webber in Turkey 2010.

His domination of the 2011 season is dealt with in two pages. There is very little depth, and little to be learned for the enthusiastic F1 fan. The vaunted exclusive interview with Sebastian is less than riveting stuff, featuring questions such as “Do you live in a house or a flat” – not exactly what we were looking to know.

One interesting segment is a short but sweet interview with Giorgio Ascanelli, technical director of Toro Rosso. Here, we get a slightly oblique look at Vettel, and learn facts that we normally wouldn’t know – exactly what I want from a biography.

Unfortunately, there are few other plus points. With such little depth, it completely fails to invigorate the reader, and will leave most F1 fans frustrated.

As an F1 fan, I read through the book with a certain interest, but quickly realised that little was to come of it. For a casual fan, “Meet Sebastian Vettel” would be completely vapid and uninteresting. Either way, it’s not a book to recommend.

Rating: 2/10

Barcelona testing day 1: Vettel leads, while Lotus drop out after chassis issues

Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull sported an aero measuring device on the rear wing

Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull sported an aero measuring device on the rear wing

Sebastian Vettel led the first day of 8 testing days at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

However, the main news story of the day was Lotus dropping out of testing after discovering serious issues with their chassis. More details will be posted on the site later.

Vettel’s time of 1:23.265 was slightly faster than Nico Hulkenberg for Force India. Lewis Hamilton was 3rd for McLaren.

Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Sergio Perez were within a tenth of a second of each other. Romain Grosjean managed only 7 laps in the Lotus before reporting “strange” handling from the car.

Heikki Kovalainen suffered a rear suspension failure and a spin, leaving him 9th with only 31 laps set. Sauber were forced to retire their C31 after gearbox problems, while Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso came to a halt on track with an hour to go.

Charles Pic had his first run in the Marussia car, finishing last but setting 121 laps across the day.

Times from Barcelona day 1:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull RB8         1:23.265   79 Laps
2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India VJM05    1:23.440   97 Laps    +0.175
3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren MP4-27       1:23.590   114 Laps   +0.325
4.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso STR7      1:23.618   76 Laps    +0.353
5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari F2012        1:24.100   75 Laps    +0.835
6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes W03         1:24.150   51 Laps    +0.885
7.  Sergio Perez          Sauber C31           1:24.219   66 Laps    +0.954
8.  Bruno Senna           Williams FW34        1:25.711   97 Laps    +2.446
9.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham CT01        1:26.035   31 Laps    +2.770
10. Romain Grosjean       Lotus E20            1:26.809   7 Laps     +3.544
11. Charles Pic           Virgin MVR-02        1:28.026   121 Laps   +4.761

Red Bull post first images of RB8

Red Bull's first images of the RB8

Red Bull's first images of the RB8

Red Bull are the second of today’s launches, posting pictures of their RB8 challenger.

After back-to-back drivers and constructors championships, the team have retained their winning formula, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the helm. Adrian Newey continues to head the design team. Ex-Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi is the team’s reserve driver.

The most interesting innovation so far appears to be in the now infamous nose section, where the team have placed an air intake right in the middle of the raised section. It is currently unclear what section this intake serves, but it would most likely be for the driver.

More pictures and quotes from the team will be added as they arrive.

2011 final driver rankings: 3rd – 1st

This is the final article in a 4-part series, ranking all 28 drivers this season. As you would expect, this post tackles Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

3rd – Jenson Button

Button is a drastically improved driver from last year

Button is a drastically improved driver from last year

Previous ranking: 3rd

Review from previous ranking: “He has shown himself as a more complete driver this year, and unlike his teammate, shows restraint where necessary.”

In the first few races of 2011 it appeared that Jenson was still a step behind Lewis Hamilton in terms of performance. A single podium in the first 4 races was earned because of his trademark tyre conservation, not because of outright pace.

However, from Monaco onwards, the balance of power had shifted at McLaren, and Button is now comfortably ahead of his teammate in all areas.

He has scored double the amount of podiums compared to Hamilton this year (12 against 6). As well as his damp/wet weather skills, he was able to keep his car out of trouble – a complete contrast compared to Lewis. His two retirements were not caused by his hand, compared to two silly crashes by Hamilton.

He seems to have a sixth sense in changeable weather conditions. His drive in Canada was outstanding, overtaking the entire field in a matter of 30 laps. In Hungary, a straight fight between the McLarens, Lewis fell apart while Button cruised to victory.

In Suzuka, he was able to scrape a win deep in Red Bull territory – a remarkable feat considering the pace of the RB7.

Many doubted that Jenson could withstand Lewis when moving to McLaren. However, he has proven us all wrong by becoming the first driver to beat Lewis on points while in the same team, by 43 points – and it should have been a lot more.

Not only this, but he has firmly put himself in the elite group of top racing drivers.

2nd – Sebastian Vettel

Vettel was at the front 99% of the time, and seemingly unstoppable

Vettel was at the front 99% of the time, and seemingly unstoppable

Previous ranking: 1st

Review from previous ranking: “Nearly utterly faultless all season, Sebastian is more complete a racing driver.”

Sebastian Vettel is vastly changed from 2010. Barely a single foot put wrong all season, the German deservedly took back-to-back world championships – but still pushed himself the entire way.

He could have backed off on the first lap in Monza, but he didn’t. Taking to the grass at Curva Grande, he sliced past Fernando Alonso to take the lead in style.

He could have backed off in Spa, but again he didn’t. Vettel is the first driver in recent history to make a pass around the outside of the fearsome Blanchimont corner. I honestly can’t remember the last time a driver did this.

The dropping of points were almost always out of his control. His retirement in Abu Dhabi was mechanical, while gearbox issues in Brazil cost him the win. There is very little to fault Vettel with this season.

So the question is – why is he second instead of first?

Obviously, we saw the making of a top-class driver this year, but I feel there’s more to it than just raw pace. The Red Bull tactic of sticking the car on pole and tearing away in the first few laps, to remain out of sight for later, isn’t the most desirable tactics we’d like to see – especially if it’s done 90% of all the races.

He has the scope for overtaking moves, but this simply doesn’t define a season. Webber’s pass on Alonso in Spa proves that a ballsy move doesn’t earn you Driver of the Year on merit.

As well as this, whenever the slightest variable moves in the car, Vettel’s driving falters. Germany was the prime example of this, where a suspension change resulted in Sebastian’s pace falling off a cliff. He was lucky to finish 4th considering the pace he had.

There’s no denying that he is a world class driver, and one of the best drivers in F1′s history. But the absolute perfect team/car set-up cannot last forever, and when it slips away, Vettel’s talent will be severely tested. However, we still have one more driver, who has shown that he can still rip up tarmac while well outside of his comfort zone…

1st – Fernando Alonso

In similar machinery, Alonso thrashed anyone who stood in his way

In similar machinery, Alonso thrashed anyone who stood in his way

Previous review: 2nd

Ranking from previous review: “If there’s anyone on the grid who can [challenge Vettel] it will be Fernando Alonso.”

After the last two years I can easily say that Fernando Alonso doesn’t need the best car to inspire terror in his fellow drivers. While his championship challenge failed to materialise, he pushed maximum performance out of a lifeless car, and put that Ferrari where no other driver could.

As Felipe Massa proved, an average driver will produce average results from an average car. But Fernando is not an average driver. When the opportunity arose to take a single win in 2011, Alonso was there, snatching the victory while his teammate was half a minute behind.

Even when the car was nowhere near its best, Fernando was always ready to fight for whatever scraps Red Bull and McLaren had left behind. He made an astonishing start in Spain to grab the lead from 4th on the grid, and only the prime tyres proved to be his downfall.

When Vettel was out of the running in Germany, Alonso was primed to take another victory, but was thwarted by an excellent pass by Hamilton after his pit-stop. Without that move, it could well have been another win.

With such a dog of a car, the only driver we can effectively compare him to is Massa, and that’s a pretty easy comparison. Alonso has destroyed Felipe in every possible sector this year. While Fernando has taken 10 podiums this year, Felipe has none whatsoever. What’s more impressive is the fact that Alonso was out of the top 5 only twice this year (considering that Red Bulls and McLarens would dominate the top 4 according to car pace), while 5th was all that Massa could achieve at all.

This shows the gap between an ordinary driver and an extraordinary one. If I were to criticise him for anything this season, it would be  an ill-judged defense of his position in Canada, resulting in his only retirement of the year.

Despite this, Alonso is capable of pushing his car well beyond what it would achieve with any other driver at the wheel. His long-term contract with Ferrari shows that he has faith in the Scuderia, and the prospect of a competitive car next year will undoubtedly set us up for a brilliant showdown against Red Bull and McLaren.

For achieving what no other driver could in a dismal car, Fernando Alonso is my driver of the year.

My top 5 drives of the season

After looking at the finest races and overtakes of 2011, it’s time to move on to the best race performances by any driver. This is judged by looking at raw pace, clever use of strategy and sheer brilliant driving.

5th – Sebastian Vettel – Monaco Grand Prix

After a scintillating drive in qualifying, a clean getaway would normally have sealed the race for Sebastian.

But, a mistake at his first pit stop put Vettel at a disadvantage – and on the wrong tyres. He emerged on the soft compound instead of the super-softs.

To make matters worse, the Red Bull was later reeled in by both Alonso and Button. His Pirelli tyres were nearly shredded to pieces, but Sebastian hung on lap after lap, keeping the Ferrari and McLaren at bay.

A red flag with 6 laps to go calmed the battle, and ensured the Red Bull would cruise to the chequered flag on new tyres, but it was by no means easy for Vettel.

4th – Mark Webber – Chinese Grand Prix

A torrid performance in qualifying left the Aussie in 18th place on the grid. Clearly a fightback was the order of the day.

Slicing through the field, Mark made it up to 4th place, then overtook Jenson Button on the final lap to take a brilliant podium position. Unfortunately much of his racing action was missed by the cameras.

It was a sweet ending to a poor weekend, marred by electrical and KERS problems.

3rd – Fernando Alonso – Spanish Grand Prix

By the Spanish GP, it was well known that the 2011 Ferrari challenger was hopeless against the Red Bulls – it’s a good thing nobody told Fernando Alonso.

A trademark demon start put Fernando in the lead of his home Grand Prix, to the delight of the fans. He held the position until the first pit stop, where his race began to unravel.

After being pipped by Vettel in the first set of stops, Alonso eventually had to put on the prime tyres, which killed his charge completely. He slipped to 5th, and was a lap down by the chequered flag.

So why is this drive on the list? Because nobody else on the grid would have been able to do what Fernando did in the opening stages. He thrashed the car to the absolute limit, and was beating a significantly faster car. A ferocious drive from the Spaniard.

2nd – Jenson Button – Japanese Grand Prix

In a year of Sebastian Vettel domination, it was quite a considerable achievement to beat the double world champion on a trademark Red Bull track.

By missing pole position by less than 0.01 seconds, it was clear he had the pace. After Button undercut Vettel at the first set of stops, there was no stopping him.

Fernando Alonso chased the McLaren to the flag, so much so that Jenson nearly burned out the minimum fuel sample required after the race. He pulled over after the final lap, finishing just a second ahead of Alonso.

Still, it was a fantastic drive to out-perform the Red Bulls at one of their strongest circuits…

1st – Jenson Button – Canadian Grand Prix

But not as good a drive as in Canada. Disaster after disaster couldn’t stop the Briton’s charge through the field – twice.

A puncture after clashing with his teammate, a drive-through penalty for speeding, followed up by another accident – this time with Fernando Alonso – and another puncture.

Most drivers’ races would end here. But for Jenson, he took it on himself to make another final dash from last to first, and took the lead on the final lap for icing on the cake.

On a difficult damp track, to lap over 2 seconds a lap faster than anyone else is simply incredible, and that’s why Button has earned the drive of the year.

Points standings after Brazilian GP – season total

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 392
2 Jenson Button 270
3 Mark Webber 258
4 Fernando Alonso 257
5 Lewis Hamilton 227
6 Felipe Massa 118
7 Nico Rosberg 89
8 Michael Schumacher 76
9 Adrian Sutil 42
10 Vitaly Petrov 37
11 Nick Heidfeld 34
12 Kamui Kobayashi 30
13 Paul di Resta 27
14 Jaime Alguersuari 26
15 Sebastien Buemi 15
16 Sergio Perez 14
17 Rubens Barrichello 4
18 Bruno Senna 2
19 Pastor Maldonado 1
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
21 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Narain Karthikeyan 0
24

25

26

27

28

Jarno Trulli

Pedro de la Rosa

Timo Glock

Daniel Ricciardo

Karun Chandhok

0

0

0

0

0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 650
2 McLaren-Mercedes 497
3 Ferrari 375
4 Mercedes GP 165
5 Renault 73
6 Force India-Mercedes 69
7 Sauber-Ferrari 44
8 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 41
9 Williams-Cosworth 5
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 HRT-Cosworth 0
12 Virgin-Cosworth 0
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