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The F1 Times 2012 Awards - The Results
Wednesday 02nd January 2013, 18:51 by TF1T Staff
First of all, Happy New Year to all our readers and thanks to those who voted in our annual awards. Lots of you did.
Below are the results of the 2012 awards and you'll probably notice a distinct pattern emerge as you scroll down the page. A certain Finnish driver certainly dominated the votes.
Kimi Räikkönen - 45%
Fernando Alonso - 25.7%
Sebastian Vettel - 8.3%
A surprising result here. Not only did Räikkönen beat Alonso and Vettel to the award, but he did it by quite a margin. There have clearly been a lot of admirers of Kimi’s comeback season, but to be fair he did a brilliant job.
There weren’t many people who expected him to do as well as he did. Impressively he was quick right from the start of the season. He didn’t need much time to re-adapt to F1.
His race pace was very strong, he was consistent and he hardly made any errors. His race craft was a bit rusty to start with, but he turned that around with a few sensational passes in the second half of the season.
If Lotus can continue to improve in 2013, and Kimi can find some more pace over a single lap, then he really is going to be a genuine title contender next year.
Red Bull - 37.2%
Lotus - 26.8%
Ferrari - 11%
Once again Red Bull was the stand out team. They didn’t win it because they had the quickest car at every race. They won because they were the most complete team.
Tactically they were always very strong. Their consistently good pit stops, lack of major mistakes and the strongest overall driver combo put them ahead of their competition. On days when the car wasn’t the quickest they made the best of the situation.
Even before the impressive game changing Singapore upgrade Red Bull were in a brilliant position in the constructors championship, and Vettel was in the mix in the drivers' championship.
2012 just shows how it isn’t just Newey who is winning titles for Red Bull. The team have shown that they are strong in every department, not just in the design of the car.
It will take much more than just a quick car to topple the Milton Keynes squad in 2013.
Abu Dhabi - 38.3%
Brazil - 24.3%
Europe - 7.7%
We were spoilt in 2012 with the number of action packed races we witnessed. A number of contenders could have picked up the award, whereas normally there is always one clear winner.
Nobody expected Abu Dhabi to produce a thriller but it did. There were a number of tangles, Kimi holding off a charging Alonso to get his first comeback win, another reliability gremlin for Hamilton and Vettel’s drive from the pit lane to somehow finish in third (even after a couple of early incidents). There was just a whole array of dramatic stories developing up and down the field.
It was one of the key moments in the championship. Had Vettel only managed to finish seventh or eighth (as was the pre-race expectation by many) then Alonso would have been champion.
Red Bull (RB8) - 38%
McLaren (MP4-27) - 23.5%
Lotus (E20) - 15%
Again Red Bull produced the standout car in 2012, or at least that’s how it appeared. Over the full course of the season McLaren arguably had the faster car, but with mistakes and reliability woes they didn’t always show it.
What was great about the RB8 was that it was always there or thereabouts. There was never a weekend where Red Bull was disastrously off the pace.
It was also one of the easiest cars on the tyres which was key in 2012. Even when it didn’t qualify well it generally fared pretty well on race day.
The peak performance of the car was also extremely high, as we saw in the Asian block of races in the final third of the season.
Romain Grosjean - 41.5%
Daniel Ricciardo - 17.7%
Charles Pic - 12.5%
Romain may have had his fair share of incidents during the year, but he showed that he had plenty of star potential too. His qualifying pace in particular was very strong with highlights including a front row start in Hungary, and third on the grid in Melbourne. He also could have won in Valencia had he not broken down.
If he can maintain that speed and cut out the errors, then he may well hit back at his critics in 2013. Lotus has made the right decision to stand by him. He was the quickest out of the options available to them.
Räikkönen’s Abu Dhabi radio messages - 36.7%
Räikkönen’s Brazilian GP detour - 15%
The turn one crash at Spa (Belgium) - 10.8%
Seven different winners in the opening seven races - 10.8%
There was only ever going to be one winner for this award. It was just typical Kimi and it's why he is adored so much by F1 fans all around the world.
As it turned out he knew exactly what he was doing as he didn’t put a foot wrong in Abu Dhabi, and took a remarkable win.
Lotus - 38.7%
Red Bull - 12%
Ferrari - 11.7%
There were a number of contenders for this award but Lotus is definitely a worthy winner. Unlike 2011 when they faded very early on, they were a factor throughout 2012.
They only suffered a slight dip whilst trying to get their double DRS “the device” to work which never actually raced.
The team had ten appearances on the podium in 2012 compared to just two in 2011. That of course includes that race win for Kimi in Abu Dhabi. They could very well have won in Bahrain, Valencia and Hungary too.
If they can retain the race pace that made the E20 such a success, but add in more one lap pace too, then the Enstone team could be the dark horses in 2013.
Räikkönen on Schumacher (Belgium) - 32.7%
Alonso on Grosjean (Europe) - 8.3%
Hülkenberg on Hamilton and Grosjean (Korea) - 5.5%
There were five or six overtakes that deserved to win this award. Ultimately it’s no surprise to see a brave move into Eau Rouge winning the category. Not only was this a move on Schumacher who is never easy to overtake, but Mercedes had far better straight line speed compared to Lotus in the race too.
Kimi couldn’t get him down the Kemmel straight even with his rear wing open. His best option was to get him before the DRS zone, so that he could then use DRS to defend against Michael down the straight. He made the plan work to perfection.
Just like Webber’s similar move on Alonso in 2011, it was a pass that made you jump off the edge of your sofa.
Kimi Räikkönen - 22%
Nico Hülkenberg - 12%
Sergio Pérez - 5.5%
This was quite a difficult category this year as there wasn’t really a driver who stood out as being underrated. The fact that the winner only got 22% of the vote seems to reflect that.
Very often this type of award goes to somebody at the back of the field (Heikki Kovalainen won the award last year). Although there were a few decent performances at that end of the grid in 2012, there wasn’t really anybody who did quite enough to merit the award.
In another surprise it’s Räikkönen who wins the award. During the season he certainly did receive plaudits but clearly voters thought he deserved more.
He did have a great season and considering he had been out of F1 for two years, maybe those who voted for him do in fact have a point.
Kimi Räikkönen - 43%
Fernando Alonso - 20.3%
Adrian Newey - 8%
Again it’s Räikkönen who triumphs against the odds. Like in the driver of the year category, it’s a surprise to see him come out on top given the quality of the other nominations.
As mentioned earlier he did deliver a great comeback season in many ways. It shouldn’t be underestimated how hard it is to make a successful comeback. Schumacher’s disappointing comeback shows just how hard it is.
The iceman is also more popular than ever, and that may have played a part in the voting too.
The question before the start of the season was which Raikkonen were we going to see. Would it be the spectacular McLaren version? Or the underwhelming Ferrari version? The good news is that we saw the McLaren version.
He also seems happier now at Lotus than he did at either of those two teams.
Don’t be surprised if we haven’t seen the best of Kimi in F1 just yet. A happy and fast iceman is a lethal combination.
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