Korea: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, October 15, 2012

We rate the drivers for their Korean Grand Prix performances.

Sebastian Vettel | 1st | 9/10

For the third successive race, Vettel emerged with the biggest trophy but more importantly, twenty five points. He controlled the pace throughout although he did make a minor error ahead of his first stop. Title Number 3 is there for the taking.

Mark Webber | 2nd | 8/10

It’s amazing to think that this is only Webber’s third podium of the season and his first non-victorious one. He got too much wheelspin and at that point lost the race. Early yellow flags didn’t help, but second was always a formality.

Jenson Button | Ret | 4/10

The Korean International Circuit clearly isn’t a favourite of Button’s. After a dismal race in 2010, this year’s race was scuppered by yellow flags in qualifying and ended by Kamui Kobayashi’s unorthodox line into Turn 3.

Lewis Hamilton | 10th | 7/10

Hamilton’s tenth place was perhaps one of the hardest earned points of the season. The rear roll bar failed on Lap 18 and yet he defended resolutely against Kimi Raikkonen. The astroturf incident was peculiar and comical in equal measure; he did a grand job to make the finish.

Fernando Alonso | 3rd | 7/10

It was a fairly average race for Alonso. In what was clearly the second fastest car, he maximised the package available to him and always had Mark Webber under a little bit of pressure. He claims losing the title lead is no loss, but on pure pace getting it back will be tricky.

Felipe Massa | 4th | 8/10

This is the Felipe Massa that Formula One wants to see. He proved Suzuka was not a one-off and had the pace to beat Alonso, but understandably he didn’t challenge him. He’s finally rediscovered his confidence; long may it continue.

Michael Schumacher | 13th | 4/10

Considering the way Schumacher exited the sport in 2006, it’s going to be a real shame to see his career end with him mired in the midfield through no fault of his own. The W03 is lacking pretty much everywhere.

Nico Rosberg | Ret | 4/10

The Mercedes has slipped back from being in contention for the podium to not even in the points. Qualifying in ninth was the best position possible but like Button, he was a victim of Kobayashi’s enthusiasm into Turn 3.

Photo credit: Lotus F1 Team

Kimi Raikkonen | 5th | 7/10

Another race, another points finish for Raikkonen. Considering his consistency, Lotus will look back at a couple of races with regret that they weren’t a little bit more aggressive. Winning the title is still possible, but increasingly unlikely.

Romain Grosjean | 7th | 6/10

After his race in Japan, Grosjean desperately needed to stay out of trouble, which he did. A naturally conservative start saw him lost a position to Hulkenberg and although he found a way back through, he was passed again by his rival.

Paul di Resta | 12th | 5/10

He was again a little unlucky in qualifying as he lined up outside of the top ten and tried starting on the prime tyre. Wear rates differed from what the team expected, rendering the strategy difficult to manage as well as increased traffic.

Nico Hulkenberg | 6th | 9/10

Exemplary start saw him move ahead of Grosjean, although he lost out later on. A strong drive was made into a fantastic one by a double move around the Frenchman and Lewis Hamilton. He continues to impress.

Kamui Kobayashi | Ret | 1/10

From hero to zero in the space of a week. After the jubilation of Suzuka, his approach to Turn 3 was ill-judged and he managed to take out two of his rivals. Stumbled on for a bit and served his penalty, meaning he starts India with a clean slate.

Sergio Perez | 11th | 4/10

The Sauber was never going to be capable of challenging near the front in Korea and so it proved. Approach to Turn One was overly aggressive and he was fortunate not to hit anyone. Slow pit stop cost him a point.

Daniel Ricciardo | 9th | 8/10

Yet another strong race from the Australian; a third successive points finish – it would have been five but for a last lap failure in Italy. Ran wide when he had a brake failure and relinquished eighth to Vergne.

Jean Eric Vergne | 8th | 7/10

It was perhaps the best race of Vergne’s short career to date. He made use of an optimum strategy, as well as the poor form of Sauber and Williams, to move into the top ten. He also profited from an issue on Ricciardo’s car.

Pastor Maldonado | 14th | 4/10

The FW34 was devoid of any form of pace from start to finish and Williams attempted to pit Maldonado only once. The strategy worked, but only enough to achieve fourteenth. A worrying flashback to the depths of 2011.

Bruno Senna | 15th | 4/10

Williams split the strategies and Senna executed a two stop strategy, although with even less success than Maldonado’s one stopper. Debris in the front wing limited early progress, not that a working wing would have seen him in the points.

Heikki Kovalainen | 17th | 5/10

A fairly mundane race for the Finnish racer, as he ended up behind his team-mate but comfortably clear of the Marussia drivers. The positive aspect of the day was that he didn’t have any problems with the car.

Vitaly Petrov | 16th | 6/10

A similar situation to Kovalainen. Option tyres grained fairly early on but he managed that well enough to stay ahead of his team-mate.

Photo Credit: HRT Press Office

Pedro de La Rosa | Ret | 5/10

The Spaniard made a good start – comparatively – but was troubled by a problem from the fifth lap. It turned out to be a jamming throttle that was only getting worse, so the team wisely retired him on safety grounds.

Narain Karthikeyan | 20th | 5/10

Karthikeyan’s sponsorship means that the F1 world has seen the Tetley logo on the rear wing of the HRT. Sponsorship trivialities aside, it was an as-you-expect kind of race, although there might be slightly more Narain fans at the next race…

Timo Glock | 18th | 6/10

The team expected to struggle due to not having KERS on the car, although they were much closer to Caterham than expected. Glock raced with vim, although catching Kovalainen was always a long shot.

Charles Pic | 19th | 6/10

Pic became the first victim of the eight engines per season rule, meaning he sustained a ten place grid penalty. It only actually dropped him a few places, but the lost time trying to overhaul the HRTs saw him an irrecoverable distance from Glock.

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