Starting with today’s race, the Performance Podium will be a feature in which I create a podium of drivers based on how well they drove instead of where they finished the race. Think of it as an upgraded version of ‘Driver of the Day’.
1) Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
After a good qualifying on Saturday, Nico Hulkenberg stood out above the rest of the field on race day in Yeongam, winning a race-long battle with Romain Grosjean to take a highly impressive sixth place finish.
With rumours in the paddock suggesting a move to Sauber in 2013 is all but completed, Hulkenberg’s drive will have acted as a perfect audition to the Swiss outfit, with the Force India driver coming in almost 40 seconds ahead of team-mate Paul di Resta, and the German driver capped off a fine display by executing a superb overtaking manoeuvre on both Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton to seal his sixth place.
2) Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
With his seat at Ferrari all but secure for next season, Felipe Massa continued his fine run of form with a good run to fourth place.
Starting in sixth place, Massa battled his way through to fourth by overtaking Lewis Hamilton after the first round of pitstops, and then set about catching his team-mate Fernando Alonso. Were it not for team orders prohibiting the Brazilian from challenging his team-mate, it is probable that Massa would’ve overtaken Alonso and claimed a second successive podium finish.
3) Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
After a mechanical problem in qualifying left him starting down in 21st, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo produced a strong drive to take ninth place and match his best result in Formula One.
Having passed several cars to move himself up into the points, Ricciardo had looked like going one place better than his trio of ninths in Melbourne, Spa and Singapore, but a brake problem in the closing stages forced the him to concede what would’ve been a career best eighth place to team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne. A third successive points finish can only help boost the talented Australian’s rising stock in the paddock.