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Driver-by-driver run down

Chris Medland and Laurence Edmondson
July 31, 2011
It was an eventful grand prix for all of the drivers on the grid © Getty Images
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Jenson Button - 1st What a way to mark 200 race starts. The key to Button's victory was in Saturday's qualifying performance, when he put the much-improved McLaren on the third slot of the grid and gave himself the best chance to show his true pace. His battles with Hamilton were expertly judged too, and he once again showed an ability to get the best out of the conditions to take another impressive wet/dry victory.

Sebastian Vettel - 2nd Another race weekend, another extension of his world championship lead. He didn't have the pace of the McLaren's early on, and he was generally a lap or two too late in to the pits, but he avoided any major errors and showed in spells how quick he really could go. The pace was there for victory late on, but with a slight brake issue he sensibly settled for second and 18 points.

Fernando Alonso - 3rd Got his wish of wanting a McLaren victory, but owes his podium to McLaren and Red Bull's failings. Made errors early on but had genuine pace. Ferrari's call to put on supersofts and four stop was puzzling, but Both Hamilton's and Webber's decisions to put on intermediate tyres as rain fell allowed Alonso to stay ahead of the pair. Had the pace to challenge for victory but not the strategy.

Lewis Hamilton - 4th Conspired with his team to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After 40 laps the race was his, but instead of following Red Bull in putting on prime tyres, they opted for options and a further stop. His spin was uncharacteristic and resultant penalty arguably harsh, but the move to fit intermediates backfired too. Isolate his driving and it was a good performance, and he did well to salvage fourth from such poor strategic calls.

Mark Webber - 5th Had an awful start which dropped him to eighth and meant his race was effectively over before it began. Showed encouraging pace in spells but couldn't match Alonso or Vettel, so his switch to intermediates was worth the gamble from his position of fifth, even if it ultimately didn't pay off. The fact he still lost out to Hamilton in the final stint shows that he got the most he could out of the car underneath him in the end.

Felipe Massa - 6th Not known for his skills in changeable conditions, Massa struggled once again and was lucky his spin in to the tyre barrier on lap eight didn't cause him more substantial damage. Admitted that played on his mind, and struggled to display consistent pace - although he had raw speed as his fastest lap proved.

Paul di Resta - 7th The best performance of his grand prix career to date, which was all down to a good start and consistent lap times. Jumped in to the top ten off the line and then kept out of trouble before displaying the car's pace in the final stint to climb back up to seventh. A mature drive in tough conditions, and did well to control the car on wet grass taking avoiding action to pass the spinning Hamilton.

Sebastien Buemi - 8th A contender for drive of the day as he climbed up from 23rd on the grid, making the most of the supersoft tyres available to him. His first lap was mightily impressive, gaining nine places to put himself well in the frame, and was 12th by the end of lap three. Called it "one of my best" as he maintained good pace and executed a well judge pass on Kobayashi in to turn one to take eighth before holding off Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg - 9th For the second successive race, strategy let Mercedes down. Struggling on slick tyres Rosberg gambled on intermediates and it caused him to have to pit for a fourth time just four laps later. Recovered to get in to the points but had the pace to score more, especially after a strong start put him in fourth place.

Jaime Alguersuari - 10th Another good drive to score the final point, and he was a bit unlucky with the timing of his final stop. Rejoined as it began raining and couldn't get heat in his tyres, causing him to run off the track, but matched his team-mate's pace and could have finished ninth if it wasn't for a rash attempt to pass Kobayashi in turn one which resulted in contact and a half spin.

Kamui Kobayashi - 11th Went for an unusual strategy and ran on prime tyres in the second stint, allowing him to run longer and gain track position but didn't help his overall pace. Got up to seventh place but stayed out for too long on supersoft tyres in the middle of the race - 29 laps - and had to pit for a final time with just seven laps to go to drop out of the points.

Vitaly Petrov - 12th Another to be caught out by the shower in the middle of the race, Petrov made the switch to intermediate tyres but was forced to pit for slicks three laps later, and then didn't have the pace to catch the top ten as his Renault really struggled to get heat in its tyres.

Nick Heidfeld's race ended with a nasty fire © Sutton Images
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Rubens Barrichello - 13th Mixed races like Sunday's are the sort where an experienced driver like Barrichello should be racking up points for an experienced team like Williams. However, they made the wrong call by pitting for inters during a brief rain shower at the end of the race and that cost him a top ten position.

Adrian Sutil - 14th A mistake at the chicane early in the race cost him a lot of positions and undid all his hard work from the previous day in qualifying. He then gambled with inters during one of the phantom rain showers and lost out even more. In the end he did well to battle back to 14th, albeit two laps down on the leaders.

Sergio Perez - 15th After doing so well to qualify tenth on Saturday, Perez spent all of Sunday going backwards. He dropped to 20th on the first lap as his Sauber simply refused to follow his commands in the difficult conditions. He didn't do himself any favours when he overtook Heikki Kovalainen under yellow flags and earned a drive-through penalty.

Pastor Maldonado - 16th Despite showing promise in qualifying, Maldonado simply isn't delivering on race day. He had a decent start on Sunday but was caught speeding in the pit lane and the resulting drive-through scuppered his chances of a decent result. Switching to inters towards the end didn't help, but at that stage it was worth the gamble.

Timo Glock - 17th In the wet he looked competitive and actually managed to keep some much faster cars behind him. In the dry, however, the true performance of the Virgin shone through and he dropped off the back of the pack. It was a good drive but he still finished four laps off the pace.

Daniel Ricciardo - 18th The best result of his short F1 career and one in which he made few mistakes. He finished 39 seconds off Timo Glock ahead, but crucially was ahead of team-mate Tonio Liuzzi.

Jerome d'Ambrosio - 19th It was the kind of performance that might make some people question his position in F1. He finished a lap down on his team-mate but of greater concern was the mistake he made when coming into his pit box. He lost the rear end of his car as he approached his pit crew and after the race admitted it was his mistake. He added: "Definitely not my best race".

Tonio Liuzzi - 20th Almost everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong in another difficult race for the Italian. He was punted off at the chicane early in the race, and in an unrelated incident part of his front wing flew off. He then struggled with understeer, which was not helped by a wet weather setup that did not match the conditions.

Heikki Kovalainen - DNF A water leak ultimately brought an end to his race, but a gamble on intermediates during one of the short rain showers had already cost him dear. On the plus side he was keeping midfield cars at bay early in the race, which will be very uplifting for the team ahead of the summer break.

Michael Schumacher - DNF A gearbox problem accounted for his retirement on lap 27 after a decent start. His pace looked reasonable early in the race but he said that he didn't think anything higher than eighth was possible had he finished.

Nick Heidfeld - DNF His race ended with one of the scariest car fires in recent years which eventually saw his sidepod explode. The fire was a result of holding the engine at high revs for longer than normal during his pit stop and looked particularly dramatic as the exhausts exit from the front of the sidepods. He was 18th at the time and out of the running for points.

Jarno Trulli - DNF He had been raving about the merits of his Lotus' new power steering all weekend, so it was a shame to see him complete just 17 laps on Sunday. He is clearly much happier with the car now, so it will be interesting to see if he can start to match the performance of team-mate Kovalainen after the summer break.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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