Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, November 5, 2012

Sebastian Vettel | 3rd | 9/10

Vettel’s woes in qualifying saw him start from the pits and he fought back with all the characteristics of a world champion. He did have a slice of luck courtesy of the safety car timings but this was a great driver. Docked a point only because of the mistake with Ricciardo.

Mark Webber | Ret | 4/10

It was a very messy race for Webber. He should have been the main beneficiary when Hamilton retired, instead a poor start left him down in fifth and he misjudged his move on Maldonado. He was, however, the innocent victim of Perez’s erratic nature.

Jenson Button | 4th | 6/10

It may seem a harsh mark, but considering the pace of Hamilton throughout the weekend, his performance was a little underwhelming. He made it through on Maldonado but couldn’t overtake Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton | Ret | 10/10

An absolute class act. Utterly dominant in qualifying and didn’t even need a second run to secure pole position. A minor error on Lap 2 gave Raikkonen a chance but from then on he was half a second a lap quicker. Fuel pressure failure was cruel.

Fernando Alonso | 2nd | 9/10

Once again Alonso is written off, once again Alonso ends up on the podium. His message when collecting the trophy was clear: 2 more races, we can do it. Slight mistake on the restart cost him time, although he did an admirable job of hunting down Raikkonen.

Felipe Massa | 7th | 6/10

His pace wasn’t too shabby and it was good to collect more points. However, he was spooked when Webber re-joined in front of him and spun. Webber could have backed out more, but it was a very silly error from Massa.

Michael Schumacher | 11th | 5/10

It was perhaps a race in which there was almost no coverage of Schumacher, which highlights the decline of Mercedes and the sorry end to his career. Points were on offer but a late race tyre failure punctured hopes of that.

Nico Rosberg | Ret | 5/10

All in all, a messy race. Contact with Grosjean was simply a racing incident and he cannot be apportioned blame for turning his Mercedes W03 into a 747 on Lap 8. After all, that was probably the fastest it went all weekend.

Kimi Raikkonen | 1st | 10/10

In a season where Lotus couldn’t find that final push for victory, they finally achieved the win in Abu Dhabi. Raikkonen’s drive was sublime, aided by a strong start and Hamilton’s failures. Radio messages and podium demeanour will live long in the memory.

Romain Grosjean | Ret | 6/10

There’s a rush for people to automatically assign blame to Grosjean whenever he’s involved in an incident, but the opening lap contact with Rosberg was simply racing while his exit from the race was a case of wrong place at the wrong time.

Paul di Resta | 9th | 6/10

Clumsy approach to the first corner resulted in contact and left him with a puncture, although he raced with vim to get back into the points. Good move on Grosjean was forgotten when Perez got a little optimistic.

Nico Hulkenberg | Ret | N/A

It’s hard to give Hulkenberg a rating at all when all he did was try and turn into the first corner, only to find his team mate was there. Resulting contact with Senna was unavoidable because his car was already knackered.

Kamui Kobayashi | 6th | 7/10

He gained several places at the start largely because he didn’t hit anything and from then on he was possibly the only midfield runner not to come to grief. Yet the strange world of F1 means he may just have two races left.

Sergio Perez | 15th | 3/10

Sometimes Perez races with the aura of a future world champion, other times he drives like someone who’s a sandwich short of a picnic. The latter version of Perez was present in Abu Dhabi; since his McLaren deal, he’s looked wild.

Daniel Ricciardo | 10th | 7/10

Ricciardo can’t be blamed for almost taking out Vettel – which wouldn’t have gone down to well – under safety car conditions and from then on he made steady progress to benefit from everyone hitting each other. A good point well deserved.

Jean Eric Vergne | 12th | 5/10

Failing to make Q2 for an eighth time this season is a dismal record, while his only contribution to the race was jumping out of the way for Vettel. After all, he knows what happened to Jaime Alguersuari, and that was just in free practice.

Pastor Maldonado | 5th | 9/10

Having spent much of the first half of the season hitting whatever he could, his driving in the second part of the year has been much better. Sadly that’s coincided with a decline in the car’s performance, although in Abu Dhabi he was fantastic, especially considering his KERS failed.

Bruno Senna | 8th | 8/10

Senna’s outright pace is undoubtedly lacking, but he once again leaves a race weekend with a handful of points. He always seems to end up as a victim at the first corner and so it proved once again. A strong recovery drive, mind.

Caterham F1 Team

Heikki Kovalainen | 13th | 7/10

Kovalainen’s drive was just what a team like Caterham needs in a chaotic race. Sadly twelve cars were ahead of him at the finish: had one more dropped out, they’d have reclaimed 10th in the championship. That might decide his future.

Vitaly Petrov | 16th | 5/10

Petrov has had a good run of races lately, but to be seventeen seconds behind your team mate at the finish – considering there were only twelve post-safety car laps – is a little bit underwhelming. Understeer the problem, apparently.

Pedro de La Rosa | 17th | 6/10

He may be at the back, but he frequently gets the maximum out of the package. Tyre blanket woes on the grid saw him start behind Vettel in the pit lane, but he managed a one stop strategy shrewdly and was within range of Petrov at the finish.

Narain Karthikeyan | Ret | 5/10

After two brake failures that could have had disastrous consequences, an HRT failure in Abu Dhabi finally caused the terrifying accident that said brake failures promised. This time, however, it was a steering failure and Rosberg was the innocent victim/pilot.

Timo Glock | 14th | 7/10

Qualifying wasn’t the greatest session but he made amends in the race. Sector One understeer meant he couldn’t catch Kovalainen, but he held of Perez at the finish to claim a credible fourteenth place.

Charles Pic | Ret | 6/10

Pic qualified well but made a mistake on the opening lap that left him behind Petrov, from where he never recovered – no KERS being the obvious limitation. An engine problem on Lap 41 ended his race.


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