Button wins first Driver of the Weekend vote of 2012

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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Australian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button won your vote for Driver of the Weekend.

The McLaren driver was ranked ahead of two drivers who starred in the following race in Malaysia: Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.

Driver of the Australian Grand Prix Weekend poll – top three

1. Jenson Button – 43.6%
2. Fernando Alonso – 21.1%
3. Sergio Perez – 8.2%

One reader ranked the drivers in exactly the same order F1 Fanatic readers ultimately chose:

If I had three votes I would go with:

1. Button
2. Alonso
3. Perez

Button drove a flawless race after overtaking Hamilton at the start. Alonso, just like last season, was able to seemingly push his Ferrari past its capabilities. Perez did a great job of fighting through the field to finish eighth after starting in last place.

PJA also picked this trio as the outstanding performances of the race:

The drivers who stood out for me were Button, Alonso and Perez, I was impressed by Maldonado until he crashed on the last lap.

Button’s race was almost a copy of a number of Vettel’s races last year, leading after the first lap and quickly build up a cushion so DRS wasn’t an issue and then did the same after the restart.

Alonso again outperformed the car, but he did make that mistake in qualifying, although on reflection I doubt he would have finished better in the race.

Perez started from the back and managed to use his one-stop strategy to finish in the points.

In the end I had to give it to Alonso even taking into account qualifying the race performance was just so impressive.

Jenson Button

Qualifying: 2nd
Race: 1st

Button was out-qualified by team mate Lewis Hamilton by a mere 0.15s, but he took the lead the moment the lights went off.

From that moment on he led the race virtually unchallenged to win the Australian Grand Prix for the third time in his career.

Button made it look easy, he had Hamilton and Vettel chasing him at different times of the race?? but neither of the two could come close to challenge him for the lead. Good qualifying, great start and brilliant race control. If anyone has any doubts about Button being the biggest threat to Vettel’s retaining the championship needs to look at this performance.

Got to be Button. Many drivers who raced well, didn’t get it together in qualifying including Alonso, Raikkonen and Kobayashi. Many who qualified well didn’t have a good race including Hamilton, Grosjean and Schumacher.

Button was on a short list of drivers who remained solid throughout the weekend. He showed his doubters that 2011 wasn’t just a good year for him because Hamilton was poor, Button truly has upped his game. I can’t wait to see how the battle between Hamilton and Button transpires over the year.

Fernando Alonso

Qualifying: 12th
Race: 5th

Alonso made a mistake in Q2 that cost him a chance of getting into the last part of qualifying.

However, on Sunday he drove a faultless race and maximised his car’s potential to finish a strong fifth.

Tthere are quite a few serious candidates: Button, Vettel, Alonso, Maldonado, Perez, Raikkonen… so since I can’t vote for all of them I picked Alonso for having the worst car of them all but still delivering.

Being a Button fan and not an Alonso fan, I still have to give it to Alonso. Alonso never ceases to amaze me with his ability to get the most of out of a car. I mean the car was slower than the Williams of Maldanado and he still came in fifth.

Sergio Perez

Qualifying: 17th
Race: 8th

Last year Perez was voted Driver of the Weekend for this race, which marked his Grand Prix debut.

A gearbox problem limited Perez to 17th in qualifying, then a penalty for having the unit changed dropped him to last on the grid.

He raced through the field to finish eighth, three seconds behind his team mate, and was the only driver to make just one pit stop. He ran a mammoth 34-lap stint on the soft tyres.

Mightily impressed with Sauber this weekend. My vote goes to Perez.

I knew he had the capability to have a good race starting from the back with fresher tyres. Like Keith said it was a customary display of how to look after your tyres that he executed well and he ultimately ended up comfortably in the top ten.

Plus, after being disqualified last year (although it of course has no bearing on his performance this year) I just thought it was extra special for him.

It was Perez for me: unlucky in Q2 due to his gearbox and also had a penalty, but took revenge from last year running the same strategy and making it work again; he was unlucky to lose seventh on the final lap, but I still don’t know whose fault it was. Eighth is still a very good result.

The Driver of the Weekend poll for the Malaysian Grand Prix is still open – add your votes here:

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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    22 comments on “Button wins first Driver of the Weekend vote of 2012”

    1. Well deserved by JB.. This also reminded me that what a cracking start SP got off to..

      It seems we’ve entered an era in F1 where the more measured driver reaps the rewards.. Balls out racing is rarely necessary.. Interestingly thats exactly what the rule changes were trying to promote..
      I’m a fan of the more tactical battles though so it suits me anyway :)

      1. @mw Yeah, I’m a fan of that too. Given the infinite amount of permutations available in an F1 car relative to it’s competitors it just seems such a shame to enjoy it purely for attacking driving when there is so much more available.

      2. A good mixture between the two is what’s required. Personally, it would be nice to have a little more balls than marbles, but I understand the point of view.

      3. F1 will end up with a similar size audience to WRC if they take this any further, whilst I understand fans of JB. prefer this sought of racing I think that very slowly the fans will realize the cars are not being driven flat out at any stage during the race and that drivers like LH. are going much slower than the cars full potential because they cannot cope with the tyre degradation. Obviously burnt out tyres cost less than blown up engines and gearboxes ,not taking the cars to the edge of performance cuts down running costs. YAWN!

    2. I still think it’s amusing that Jenson drives the fastest car on the grid to victory and is measured as flawless, while Alonso drags a midfield car into the same position a week later and wins less than a third of the votes.

      1. There’s no conspiracy here, dragon, it’s just that the two races were very different. There has been plenty of discussion on who should be the driver of the weekend for Malaysia, and those who voted for Perez were quick to point out that Alonso also did an amazing job (and vice versa).

        1. Oh, I’m not trying to pick apart a conspiracy here. I’m just seeing that still people vote with their hearts rather than their heads. Different race or not, as amazing a drive Sergio put in on Sunday, Fernando’s was better, that’s all, so he should have the vote. It’s a trend that ccontinues from last year where Vettel continued to put in dominating drives and yet the voters found every excuse to give it to every other driver on the grid where possible.

          1. Fernando ‘was better’ in your opinion, and mine too as it happens, but some others do not share our view. That’s life, there is no ‘best’ performance in an objective sense, only what individuals think is the best… unless you are an all knowing god (or something)!

      2. Jamie Ramsamy
        28th March 2012, 11:33

        Couldn’t agree more with your statement. Button drives the fastest car and overtook 1 guy. All he then had to do was to drive around the track till the end. All these guys are champions from previous series and are great in some sort of way. Give them a good car and they, one this day or another, would have delivered the same performance.

        Alonso & Ricciardo or even Raikkonenon on the other hand, had adversity on their side in way of sub-standard cars for the former, rookie for Ricciardo and Kimi hasn’t been in F1 since 2 years ago with several rule changes, restrictions, functions added or changed.

        If we give Button “Driver of the Weekend”, then we might as well give anybody who improved on the starting grid position and if we want to as well (since it’s “Driver of the WEEKEND”), count their “so-so” performances during FP1, FP2, FP3 and Quali.

        This evaluation of Button’s performance is very asymmetrical.

      3. Hang on; if the votes were for the “Driver of the Australian Grand Prix Weekend poll”, then what Alonso (or anyone else) did in Malaysia is irrelevant, surely?

      4. Vettel drives a Vettel-esque race, people say its the car and vote anyone other than Vettel.
        Button drives a Vettel-esque race, people vote for Button.
        Not done…

        1. I think the difference here is that last year SV had pole most of the time and ran away with most of the races in a dominant car. ie. he made it look easy (even though it never is) and so the likes of MS got more accolades because he came up through the field in a much worse car than the RBR (even though MS’s poor grid spots were of his own doing to begin with and so he caused his own scenario and yet still got lots of votes and people were willing to ignore his poor Saturdays, his self-inflicted wounds, in favour of race pace).

          This year, even before the season started, everyone (or many) expected LH to be back on form, a fresh start, shake out last year’s cobwebs, and watch him trounce JB. Not me though…I think JB is better than ever…not the same guy as last year let alone previous years and I think he will give LH many headaches this year. But I think most believe LH will handle JB easily this year.

          So when JB passed LH in Australia at the start and never looked back, he did an unexpected thing, and therefore got DOTW here.

          SP did an unexpected thing, and it was largely due to the weather, same with FA, but FA is a proven WDC so it was more expected of him to wring something out of a problematic car….whereas a relative rookie in a Sauber? Even more unexpected. I voted for FA because he took the win, with huge accolades to SP, but all the while with an asterisk in my mind about the weather that day. Nobody will be betting on FA or SP to podium on the next dry Sunday.

          1. @Robbie. Very bright analysis, I tend to agree to almost all of it. However when thinking of Schumacher, I have very often watched his start from the back in Spa last year: It was fantastic and in that race it was not his fault that he had to start from the back, but a rear wheel which came of on first round of Q1. This year he seems transformed regarding the amount of errors he makes. I just hope Mercedes can solve the tyre-issue which causes the lack of race pace, otherwise they get a lousy season.

            1. @palle…thanks. And regarding MS, I said many times in the off-season that imho MS would have to up his game in quali because if the field was going to be tighter, which has turned out to be the case, then starting further back in the grid would be much more costly than it was last year when the field was much further apart and Merc stood a distance from 3rd in the WCC with Renault and everyone else a distance back from Merc. They certainly have solved the quali day issues that MS had, but as to race pace? Wow, I can’t believe the stark difference. So far at least.

          2. @robbie

            Vettel made a habit of converting poles into wins from the first few races onwards. When he won Australia 2011, he was yet to make a habit of it. But still, he wasn’t voted DotD. In fact, he wasn’t voted DotD until the Italian GP!!
            I will concede the JB out-racing LH in dry part. It was unexpected (compared to SV out-racing MW, which was expected).

            1. @sumedh…yeah good point about SV having not made a habit of it yet in Australia, but perhaps expectations were, after the previous year as WDC, that he would be the man to beat and would have the best car, as indicated by pre-2011-season testing. Hence it taking until the Italian GP to get the nod.

              As to JB, I no longer find it unexpected if he betters LH on any given day. I personally think JB is better than ever, is just as happy and capable with this car as LH, is on a high from bettering LH last year (whether that comes down to some of LH’s own misfortunes, self-inflicted or not), and is better and more confident than he has ever been. ie. I don’t think we can compare JB to LH in the same way we might have 2 years ago, and maybe even last year, imho, even though I think many around here would disagree and still think LH is far and away better. I think we will be able to throw a blanket over those two on average for the whole season.

      5. agree, Vettel never got the D.O.T.W for doing the same job in 2011.
        Anyway its real points I’ll settle for, not these awards

    3. Thoroughly deserved.

      I do wonder if he isn’t slightly worried that he could not do his usual magic in a race (Malaysia) with changing weather conditions/different strategies etc. I half expected him to adjust quickest and come flying through the grid, but that never materialized. The tyres this year seem to be agreat equalizer when the weather is slightly off. You might have the better car, but cannot use it effectively because of tyres. Or maybe not.

      1. I think it’s more due to the fact that the incident with Karthikeyan put him on the back foot. Before that, he was ahead of Hamilton, and probably would have got the 3rd instead, if not challenging both Perez and Alonso.

        We also saw that when he came in, for some reason the set of inters he changed on to weren’t right, and when he came in again, he was once again very fast. Had it not been for the extra stop, then points would have been possible, and had it not been for the first incident, he would almost certainly have been on the podium.

        1. @jamiefranklinf1 @xaviez Yeah, the issue with Karthikeyan didn’t help. Very unusual to hear him complain of no grip in the wet as well, not like Button at all.

    4. Being a Lewis fan, I would’ve argued that lewis had a clutch issue and hence he had a slow start, but Wow was button’s drive faultless throughout the race. At the end of the race I almost felt bad that lewis couldn’t even match Button’s performance! Button truly deserves to be Driver of the weekend.

    5. And I voted for Perez again in Malaysia. He’s just so damn exciting!

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